Skmer: assembly-free and alignment-free sample identification using genome skims
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGenome Biology. 2019. 20 (34). 10.1186/s13059-019-1632-4
The ability to inexpensively describe taxonomic diversity is critical in this era of rapid climate and biodiversity changes. The recent genome-skimming approach extends current barcoding practices beyond short markers by applying low-pass sequencing and recovering whole organelle genomes computationally. This approach discards the nuclear DNA, which constitutes the vast majority of the data. In contrast, we suggest using all unassembled reads. We introduce an assembly-free and alignment-free tool, Skmer, to compute genomic distances between the query and reference genome skims. Skmer shows excellent accuracy in estimating distances and identifying the closest match in reference datasets.