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High quality genome assemblies of Mycoplasma bovis using a taxon-specific Bonito basecaller for MinION and Flongle long-read nanopore sequencing

  • Vereecke, Nick1, 2
  • Bokma, Jade1
  • Haesebrouck, Freddy1
  • Nauwynck, Hans1, 2
  • Boyen, Filip1
  • Pardon, Bart1
  • Theuns, Sebastiaan1, 2
  • 1 Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke, 9820, Belgium , Merelbeke (Belgium)
  • 2 PathoSense, Merelbeke, Belgium , Merelbeke (Belgium)
Published Article
BMC Bioinformatics
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Nov 11, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12859-020-03856-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundImplementation of Third-Generation Sequencing approaches for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) all-in-one diagnostics in human and veterinary medicine, requires the rapid and accurate generation of consensus genomes. Over the last years, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) released various new devices (e.g. the Flongle R9.4.1 flow cell) and bioinformatics tools (e.g. the in 2019-released Bonito basecaller), allowing cheap and user-friendly cost-efficient introduction in various NGS workflows. While single read, overall consensus accuracies, and completeness of genome sequences has been improved dramatically, further improvements are required when working with non-frequently sequenced organisms like Mycoplasma bovis. As an important primary respiratory pathogen in cattle, rapid M. bovis diagnostics is crucial to allow timely and targeted disease control and prevention. Current complete diagnostics (including identification, strain typing, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) detection) require combined culture-based and molecular approaches, of which the first can take 1–2 weeks. At present, cheap and quick long read all-in-one WGS approaches can only be implemented if increased accuracies and genome completeness can be obtained.ResultsHere, a taxon-specific custom-trained Bonito v.0.1.3 basecalling model (custom-pg45) was implemented in various WGS assembly bioinformatics pipelines. Using MinION sequencing data, we showed improved consensus accuracies up to Q45.2 and Q46.7 for reference-based and Canu de novo assembled M. bovis genomes, respectively. Furthermore, the custom-pg45 model resulted in mean consensus accuracies of Q45.0 and genome completeness of 94.6% for nine M. bovis field strains. Improvements were also observed for the single-use Flongle sequencer (mean Q36.0 accuracies and 80.3% genome completeness).ConclusionsThese results implicate that taxon-specific basecalling of MinION and single-use Flongle Nanopore long reads are of great value to be implemented in rapid all-in-one WGS tools as evidenced for Mycoplasma bovis as an example.

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