Heng Li's research while affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other places

Publications (152)

Preprint
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The Human Pangenome Reference Consortium (HPRC) presents a first draft human pangenome reference. The pangenome contains 47 phased, diploid assemblies from a cohort of genetically diverse individuals. These assemblies cover more than 99% of the expected sequence and are more than 99% accurate at the structural and base-pair levels. Based on alignme...
Preprint
Motivation: A pan-genome graph represents a collection of genomes and encodes sequence variations between them. It is a powerful data structure for studying multiple similar genomes. Sequence-to-graph alignment is an essential step for the construction and the analysis of pan-genome graphs. However, existing algorithms incur runtime proportional to...
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De novo assembly of metagenome samples is a common approach to the study of microbial communities. Current metagenome assemblers developed for short sequence reads or noisy long reads were not optimized for accurate long reads. We thus developed hifiasm-meta, a metagenome assembler that exploits the high accuracy of recent data. Evaluated on seven...
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We applied our computational algorithm TRUST4 to assemble immune receptor (T-cell receptor/B-cell receptor) repertoires from approximately 12,000 RNA sequencing samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas and seven immunotherapy studies. From over 35 million assembled complete complementary-determining region 3 sequences, we observed that the expression o...
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The repetitive nature and complexity of some medically relevant genes poses a challenge for their accurate analysis in a clinical setting. The Genome in a Bottle Consortium has provided variant benchmark sets, but these exclude nearly 400 medically relevant genes due to their repetitiveness or polymorphic complexity. Here, we characterize 273 of th...
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The human reference genome is the most widely used resource in human genetics and is due for a major update. Its current structure is a linear composite of merged haplotypes from more than 20 people, with a single individual comprising most of the sequence. It contains biases and errors within a framework that does not represent global human genomi...
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Since its initial release in 2000, the human reference genome has covered only the euchromatic fraction of the genome, leaving important heterochromatic regions unfinished. Addressing the remaining 8% of the genome, the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium presents a complete 3.055 billion-base pair sequence of a human genome, T2T-CHM13, that incl...
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Routine haplotype-resolved genome assembly from single samples remains an unresolved problem. Here we describe an algorithm that combines PacBio HiFi reads and Hi-C chromatin interaction data to produce a haplotype-resolved assembly without the sequencing of parents. Applied to human and other vertebrate samples, our algorithm consistently outperfo...
Preprint
The current human reference genome, GRCh38, represents over 20 years of effort to generate a high-quality assembly, which has greatly benefited society. However, it still has many gaps and errors, and does not represent a biological human genome since it is a blend of multiple individuals. Recently, a high-quality telomere-to-telomere reference gen...
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As sequencing depth of chromatin studies continually grows deeper for sensitive profiling of regulatory elements or chromatin spatial structures, aligning and preprocessing of these sequencing data have become the bottleneck for analysis. Here we present Chromap, an ultrafast method for aligning and preprocessing high throughput chromatin profiles....
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Current metagenome assemblers developed for short sequence reads or noisy long readswere not optimized for accurate long reads. Here we describe hifiasm-meta, a new metagenome assembler that exploits the high accuracy of recent data. Evaluated on seven empirical datasets, hifiasm-meta reconstructed tens to hundreds of complete circular bacterial ge...
Preprint
Routine single-sample haplotype-resolved assembly remains an unresolved problem. Here we describe a new algorithm that combines PacBio HiFi reads and Hi-C chromatin interaction data to produce a haplotype-resolved assembly without the sequencing of parents. Applied to human and other vertebrate samples, our algorithm consistently outperforms existi...
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Motivation Oxford Nanopore Technologies sequencing devices support adaptive sequencing, in which undesired reads can be ejected from a pore in real time. This feature allows targeted sequencing aided by computational methods for mapping partial reads, rather than complex library preparation protocols. However, existing mapping methods either requir...
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Transposable elements (TEs) help shape the structure and function of the human genome. When inserted into some locations, TEs may disrupt gene regulation and cause diseases. Here, we present xTea (x-Transposable element analyzer), a tool for identifying TE insertions in whole-genome sequencing data. Whereas existing methods are mostly designed for...
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We present Chromap, an ultrafast method for aligning and preprocessing high throughput chromatin profiles. Chromap is comparable to BWA-MEM and Bowtie2 in alignment accuracy and is over 10 times faster than traditional workflows on bulk ChIP-seq / Hi-C profiles and than 10x Genomics' CellRanger v2.0.0 pipeline on single-cell ATAC-seq profiles.
Preprint
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The repetitive nature and complexity of multiple medically important genes make them intractable to accurate analysis, despite the maturity of short-read sequencing, resulting in a gap in clinical applications of genome sequencing. The Genome in a Bottle Consortium has provided benchmark variant sets, but these excluded some medically relevant gene...
Preprint
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In 2001, Celera Genomics and the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium published their initial drafts of the human genome, which revolutionized the field of genomics. While these drafts and the updates that followed effectively covered the euchromatic fraction of the genome, the heterochromatin and many other complex regions were left un...
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LINE-1 mediated retrotransposition of protein-coding mRNAs is an active process in modern humans for both germline and somatic genomes. Prior works that surveyed human data mostly relied on detecting discordant mappings of paired-end short reads, or exon junctions contained in short reads. Moreover, there have been few genome-wide comparisons betwe...
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Haplotype-resolved or phased genome assembly provides a complete picture of genomes and their complex genetic variations. However, current algorithms for phased assembly either do not generate chromosome-scale phasing or require pedigree information, which limits their application. We present a method named diploid assembly (DipAsm) that uses long,...
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Haplotype-resolved de novo assembly is the ultimate solution to the study of sequence variations in a genome. However, existing algorithms either collapse heterozygous alleles into one consensus copy or fail to cleanly separate the haplotypes to produce high-quality phased assemblies. Here we describe hifiasm, a de novo assembler that takes advanta...
Preprint
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Background Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have enabled affordable sequencing of billions of short DNA fragments at high throughput, paving the way for population-scale genomics. Genomics data analytics at this scale requires overcoming performance bottlenecks, such as searching for short DNA sequences over long reference sequences....
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The recent advances in sequencing technologies enable the assembly of individual genomes to the quality of the reference genome. How to integrate multiple genomes from the same species and make the integrated representation accessible to biologists remains an open challenge. Here, we propose a graph-based data model and associated formats to repres...
Article
We present bedtk, a new toolkit for manipulating genomic intervals in the BED format. It supports sorting, merging, intersection, subtraction and the calculation of the breadth of coverage. Bedtk employs implicit interval tree, a data structure for fast interval overlap queries. It is several to tens of times faster than existing tools and tends to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Haplotype-resolved de novo assembly is the ultimate solution to the study of sequence variations in a genome. However, existing algorithms either collapse heterozygous alleles into one consensus copy or fail to cleanly separate the haplotypes to produce high-quality phased assemblies. Here we describe hifiasm, a new de novo assembler that takes adv...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present bedtk, a new toolkit for manipulating genomic intervals in the BED format. It supports sorting, merging, intersection, subtraction and the calculation of the breadth of coverage. Bedtk employs implicit interval tree, a new data structure for fast interval overlap queries. It is several to tens of times faster than existing tools and tend...
Preprint
Full-text available
LINE-1 mediated retrotransposition of protein-coding mRNAs is an active process in modern humans for both germline and somatic genomes. Prior works that surveyed human data or human cohorts mostly relied on detecting discordant mappings of paired-end short reads, or assumed L1 hallmarks such as polyA tails and target site duplications. Moreover, th...
Preprint
The recent advances in sequencing technologies enables the assembly of individual genomes to the reference quality. How to integrate multiple genomes from the same species and to make the integrated representation accessible to biologists remain an open challenge. Here we propose a graph-based data model and associated formats to represent multiple...
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Full-text available
Changes in potential regulatory elements are thought to be key drivers of phenotypic divergence. However, identifying changes to regulatory elements that underlie human-specific traits has proven very challenging. Here, we use 63 reconstructed and experimentally measured DNA methylation maps of ancient and present-day humans, as well as of six chim...
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Segmental duplications are important for understanding human diseases and evolution. The challenge to distinguish allelic and duplication sequences has hindered their phased assembly as well as characterization of structural variant calls. Here we have developed a novel graph-based approach that leverages single nucleotide differences in overlappin...
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Existing long-read assemblers require thousands of central processing unit hours to assemble a human genome and are being outpaced by sequencing technologies in terms of both throughput and cost. We developed a long-read assembler wtdbg2 (https://github.com/ruanjue/wtdbg2) that is 2–17 times as fast as published tools while achieving comparable con...
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Motivation: Reconstructing high-quality haplotype-resolved assemblies for related individuals has important applications in Mendelian diseases and population genomics. Through major genomics sequencing efforts such as the Personal Genome Project, the Vertebrate Genome Project (VGP), and the Genome in a Bottle project (GIAB), a variety of sequencin...
Preprint
Full-text available
Haplotype-resolved or phased sequence assembly provides a complete picture of genomes and complex genetic variations. However, current phased assembly algorithms either fail to generate chromosome-scale phasing or require pedigree information, which limits their application. We present a method that leverages long accurate reads and long-range conf...
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The DNA sequencing technologies in use today produce either highly accurate short reads or less-accurate long reads. We report the optimization of circular consensus sequencing (CCS) to improve the accuracy of single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing (PacBio) and generate highly accurate (99.8%) long high-fidelity (HiFi) reads with an average le...
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Regulatory changes are broadly accepted as key drivers of phenotypic divergence. However, identifying regulatory changes that underlie human-specific traits has proven very challenging. Here, we use 63 DNA methylation maps of ancient and present-day humans, as well as of six chimpanzees, to detect differentially methylated regions that emerged in m...
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Innovations in Next-Generation Sequencing are enabling generation of DNA sequence data at ever faster rates and at very low cost. Large sequencing centers typically employ hundreds of such systems. Such high-throughput and low-cost generation of data underscores the need for commensurate acceleration in downstream computational analysis of the sequ...
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Human alpha satellite and satellite 2/3 contribute to several percent of the human genome. However, identifying these sequences with traditional algorithms is computationally intensive. Here we develop dna-brnn, a recurrent neural network to learn the sequences of the two classes of centromeric repeats. It achieves high similarity to RepeatMasker a...
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Motivation: Reconstructing high-quality haplotype-resolved assemblies for related individuals of various species has important applications in understanding Mendelian diseases along with evolutionary and comparative genomics. Through major genomics sequencing efforts such as the Personal Genome Project, the Vertebrate Genome Project (VGP), the Eart...
Preprint
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Existing long-read assemblers require tens of thousands of CPU hours to assemble a human genome and are being outpaced by sequencing technologies in terms of both throughput and cost. We developed a novel long-read assembler wtdbg2 that, for human data, is tens of times faster than published tools while achieving comparable contiguity and accuracy....
Preprint
Full-text available
The major DNA sequencing technologies in use today produce either highly-accurate short reads or noisy long reads. We developed a protocol based on single-molecule, circular consensus sequencing (CCS) to generate highly-accurate (99.8%) long reads averaging 13.5 kb and applied it to sequence the well-characterized human HG002/NA24385. We optimized...
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Hundreds of thousands of human whole genome sequencing (WGS) datasets will be generated over the next few years. These data are more valuable in aggregate: joint analysis of genomes from many sources increases sample size and statistical power. A central challenge for joint analysis is that different WGS data processing pipelines cause substantial...
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Existing benchmark datasets for use in evaluating variant-calling accuracy are constructed from a consensus of known short-variant callers, and they are thus biased toward easy regions that are accessible by these algorithms. We derived a new benchmark dataset from the de novo PacBio assemblies of two fully homozygous human cell lines, which provid...
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Motivation: Recent advances in sequencing technologies promise ultra-long reads of ∼100 kilo bases (kb) in average, full-length mRNA or cDNA reads in high throughput and genomic contigs over 100 mega bases (Mb) in length. Existing alignment programs are unable or inefficient to process such data at scale, which presses for the development of new a...
Preprint
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Hundreds of thousands of human whole genome sequencing (WGS) datasets will be generated over the next few years to interrogate a broad range of traits, across diverse populations. These data are more valuable in aggregate: joint analysis of genomes from many sources increases sample size and statistical power for trait mapping, and will enable stud...
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A major challenge in evaluating the contribution of rare variants to complex disease is identifying enough copies of the rare alleles to permit informative statistical analysis. To investigate the contribution of rare variants to the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and related traits, we performed deep whole-genome analysis of 1,034 members of 20 lar...
Preprint
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Constructed from the consensus of multiple variant callers based on short-read data, existing benchmark datasets for evaluating variant calling accuracy are biased toward easy regions accessible by known algorithms. We derived a new benchmark dataset from the de novo PacBio assemblies of two human cell lines that are homozygous across the whole gen...
Article
Minimap2 is a general-purpose mapper to align long noisy DNA sequences against a large reference database. It targets query sequences of 1kb-100Mb in length with per-base divergence typically below 25%. Minimap2 is ~30 times faster than many mainstream long-read aligners and achieves higher accuracy on simulated data. It also employs concave gap co...
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The human reference genome assembly plays a central role in nearly all aspects of today's basic and clinical research. GRCh38 is the first coordinate-changing assembly update since 2009; it reflects the resolution of roughly 1000 issues and encompasses modifications ranging from thousands of single base changes to megabase-scale path reorganization...
Preprint
There is increasing recognition that a single, monoploid reference genome is a poor universal reference structure for human genetics, because it represents only a tiny fraction of human variation. Adding this missing variation results in a structure that can be described as a mathematical graph: a genome graph. We demonstrate that, in comparison to...
Preprint
Full-text available
The human reference genome assembly plays a central role in nearly all aspects of today’s basic and clinical research. GRCh38 is the first coordinate-changing assembly update since 2009 and reflects the resolution of roughly 1000 issues and encompasses modifications ranging from thousands of single base changes to megabase-scale path reorganization...
Article
We report the sequence sof �244 human Y chromosomes randomly ascertained from 26 worldwide populations by the �1000 Genomes Project. We discovered more than 65,000 variants, including single-nucleotide variants, multiple-nucleotide variants, insertions and deletions, short tandem repeats, and copy number variants. Of these, copy number variants con...
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Motivation: Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology and Oxford Nanopore technologies (ONT) produce reads over 10kbp in length, which have enabled high-quality genome assembly at an affordable cost. However, at present, long reads have an error rate as high as 10–15%. Complex and computationally intensive pipelines are required to ass...
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We report targeted sequencing of 63 known prostate cancer risk regions in a multi-ancestry study of 9,237 men and use the data to explore the contribution of low-frequency variation to disease risk. We show that SNPs with minor allele frequencies (MAFs) of 0.1-1% explain a substantial fraction of prostate cancer risk in men of African ancestry. We...
Preprint
Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found more than a hundred common susceptibility alleles for prostate cancer, the GWAS reported variants jointly explain only 33% of risk to siblings, leaving the majority of the familial risk unexplained. We use targeted sequencing of 63 known GWAS risk regions in 9,237 men from four ancestries (...
Article
BGT is a compact format, a fast command line tool and a simple web application for efficient and convenient query of whole-genome genotypes and frequencies across tens to hundreds of thousands of samples. On real data, it encodes the haplotypes of 32,488 samples across 39.2 million SNPs into a 7.4GB database and decodes a couple of hundred million...
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BFC is a free, fast and easy-to-use sequencing error corrector designed for Illumina short reads. It uses a non-greedy algorithm but still maintains a speed comparable to implementations based on greedy methods. In evaluations on real data, BFC appears to correct more errors with fewer overcorrections in comparison to existing tools. It particularl...
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FermiKit is a variant calling pipeline for Illumina data. It de novo assembles short reads and then maps the assembly against a reference genome to call SNPs, short insertions/deletions (INDELs) and structural variations (SVs). FermiKit takes about one day to assemble 30-fold human whole-genome data on a modern 16-core server with 85GB RAM at the p...
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The processes leading up to species extinctions are typically characterized by prolonged declines in population size and geographic distribution, followed by a phase in which populations are very small and may be subject to intrinsic threats, including loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding [1]. However, whether such genetic factors have had an i...
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We present a new tool to correct sequencing errors in Illumina data produced from high-coverage whole-genome shotgun resequencing. It uses a non-greedy algorithm and shows comparable performance and higher accuracy in an evaluation on real human data. This evaluation has the most complete collection of high-performance error correctors so far. Avai...
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We present the high-quality genome sequence of a 45,000-year-old modern human male from Siberia. This individual derives from a population that lived before—or simultaneously with—the separation of the populations in western and eastern Eurasia and carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. However, the genomic segme...
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We present a new method to incrementally construct the FM-index for both short and long sequence reads, up to the size of a genome. It is the first algorithm that can build the index while implicitly sorting the sequences in the reverse (complement) lexicographical order without a separate sorting step. The implementation is among the fastest for i...
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Motivation: Whole-genome high-coverage sequencing has been widely used for personal and cancer genomics as well as in various research areas. However, in the lack of an unbiased whole-genome truth set, the global error rate of variant calls and the leading causal artifacts still remain unclear even given the great efforts in the evaluation of varia...