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SPAdes assembly

Today we are only briefly introducing the assembly with SPAdes. SPAdes is already installed in our system (as in any CLIMB VM, I think), but it this wasn't the case we could simply conda install spades to have it installed by Miniconda.

Read the manual first

There is a (confusing) online manual for SPAdes, but we are nerd enough to read the instructions from the shell. Since the program is writing its output on a different channel (called standard error) we can't simply pipe it into less, we need to add an extra character (&) to have the redirection of the standard error: |& less -S 

(as always we can scroll the text with arrow keys then quit with q to return to the shell prompt). Here's an extract of the manual:

SPAdes genome assembler v3.11.0

Usage: /home/linuxbrew/.linuxbrew/bin/ [options] -o <output_dir>

Basic options:
-o      <output_dir>    directory to store all the resulting files (required)
--meta                  this flag is required for metagenomic sample data

Input data:
--12    <filename>      file with interlaced forward and reverse paired-end reads
-1      <filename>      file with forward paired-end reads
-2      <filename>      file with reverse paired-end reads
-s      <filename>      file with unpaired reads

Perform the assembly

Default parameters: auto k-mer choice -1 /bsb/denovo/phage/reads/shotgun1.fq -2 /bsb/denovo/phage/reads/shotgun2.fq -o ~/bsb01/phage_default/

If you want to see the output folder, there is an online version, in particular you can see:

  1. spades.log - this is the text that SPAdes writes to the terminal during the execution to keep us updated on the progress. Generally non so useful, but we can discover which k-mer settings have been used!
  2. contigs.fasta - usually the output we are mostly interested in: the contigs!

Default parameters: auto k-mer choice

We can perform a second assembly with k-mers set of our choice. We can compare results using different k-mer sets in our group. K-mers have to be odd!

Here an example: -1 /bsb/denovo/phage/reads/shotgun1.fq -2 /bsb/denovo/phage/reads/shotgun2.fq -o ~/bsb01/phage_29,47,51,59/ -k 29,47,51,59

As you can see I specified as output directory, a directory that helps me reminding which k-mers have been used. In this case maybe not elegant, but it's just to stress the concept of choosing useful nonambiguous names.

Pre-made output

If you want to save some time there is a pre made output from the step above here:


You can evaluate the assembly metrics with this command:

seqkit stats --all /bsb/denovo/phage/spades/contigs.fasta

Or if you made more than one assembly in your home directory, using “phage_” as prefix:

seqkit stats --all ~/bsb01/phage_*/contigs.fasta

This will work if the suggested directory structure has been used. If you made customisations, tune the paths accordingly.