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CAARS: comparative assembly and annotation of RNA-Seq data.

Carine Rey, Philippe Veber, Bastien Boussau, and Marie Semon (2018)


Motivation: RNA sequencing is a widely used approach to obtain transcript sequences in non-model organisms, notably for performing comparative analyses. However, current bioinformatic pipelines do not take full advantage of pre-existing reference data in related species for improving RNA-seq assembly, annotation, and gene family reconstruction. Results: We built an automated pipeline named CAARS to combine novel data from RNA-Seq experiments with existing multi-species gene family alignments. RNA-Seq reads are assembled into transcripts by both de novo and assisted assemblies. Then, CAARS incorporates transcripts into gene families, builds gene alignments and trees, and uses phylogenetic information to classify the genes as orthologs and paralogs of existing genes. We used CAARS to assemble and annotate RNA-Seq data in rodents and fishes using distantly related genomes as reference, a difficult case for this kind of analysis. We showed CAARS assemblies are more complete and accuratethan those assembled by a standard pipeline consisting of de novo assembly coupled with annotation by sequence similarity on a guide species. In addition to annotated transcripts, CAARS provides gene family alignments and trees, annotated with orthology relationships, directly usable for downstream comparative analyses. Availability and implementation: CAARS is implemented in Python and Ocaml and is freely available at Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

automatic medline import

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