Centroid based clustering of high throughput sequencing reads based on n-mer counts

Solovyov, Alexander; Lipkin, W. Ian

Background: Many problems in computational biology require alignment-free sequence comparisons. One of the common tasks involving sequence comparison is sequence clustering. Here we apply methods of alignment-free comparison (in particular, comparison using sequence composition) to the challenge of sequence clustering. Results: We study several centroid based algorithms for clustering sequences based on word counts. Study of their performance shows that using k-means algorithm with or without the data whitening is efficient from the computational point of view. A higher clustering accuracy can be achieved using the soft expectation maximization method, whereby each sequence is attributed to each cluster with a specific probability. We implement an open source tool for alignment-free clustering. It is publicly available from github: Conclusions: We show the utility of alignment-free sequence clustering for high throughput sequencing analysis despite its limitations. In particular, it allows one to perform assembly with reduced resources and a minimal loss of quality. The major factor affecting performance of alignment-free read clustering is the length of the read.


Also Published In

BMC Bioinformatics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Infection and Immunity
Published Here
September 9, 2014