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  • #76
    Originally posted by lh3 View Post
    In practice, RNA-seq/chip-seq and the discovery of structural variations does not care about CIGAR.
    Hi Heng,

    I beg to disagree with you on one point: of all the *-seqs, RNA-seq is probably the one that cares about the CIGAR string the most. Splice junctions provide crucial information about expression of isoforms (alternative splicing). Unlike indels, splice junctions are very abundant in long RNA libraries, and with longer reads we are seeing >50% of read pairs with at least one splice, so realignment would not be practical. Also, standard global alignment algorithms will not be feasible, I believe, since junctions span tens of kilobases in mammalian genomes.

    On the other hand I agree that aligners should not be judged harshly for soft-clipping a few bases from the ends of the reads when these bases cannot be placed confidently. In addition to the standard "correctly mapped locus" metric, one could imagine a metric which would count all correctly (true positive) and incorrectly (false positive) mapped bases for each read - that would show which aligners perform better for recovering the entire alignment.

    Cheers
    Alex

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    • #77
      Originally posted by shi View Post
      An interesting paper. The results included in it seemed to agree with our evaluation results in which we found Novoalign and Subread have the best accuracy -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23558742
      Congratulations Shi on getting Subread published and I think the theory of it is quite interesting.
      Subread does an interesting comparison of aligners in Table 2 of the publication. This table shows a comparison of mapping RNASeq data to a reference genome. Since the input reads are from the transcriptome I can't see how aligning a higher percentage of reads make it more accurate than Bowtie2, BWA or Novoalign which all report lower alignment percentages. How do we know that these extra alignments are indeed good mappings? If you were aligning with all these mappers to a reference transcriptome (transcript sequences) then this table would make more sense to me.
      The reason other aligners probably report lower alignment percentages is related to Heng's statement about the false positive rate. With RNAseq reads spanning exon-exon junctions these don't align well to a reference sequence and we usually need to add exon-exon junctions to the search space. So an aligner could introduce more error to try and align an exon junction read in the genome space. This is also of concern for SV reads that point to gene fusions.
      It would have been better to compare to GSNAP , STAR, Mapsplice and Tophat for RNASeq comparison with the SEQC dataset. In the practical world I would either need to use these specialized aligners or make my own transcriptome database for searching.

      Comment


      • #78
        The entire thread is in the context of genomic read alignment. As to RNA-seq, I was talking about M/I/D -- you do not care where is a small indel. For RNA-seq, it is true that CIGAR operator "N" is frequently more important than anything else, but that is arguably beyond the scope of this thread. Thanks a lot for the clarification anyway.

        As I said above, the difficult part for evaluating alignments is that the alignment is determined by the scoring system but the true scoring system varies with loci. In the end, all you are comparing is how close the mapper's scoring is to the simulator's scoring and neither of them is realistic. Of course we can be more careful when doing the evaluation to alleviate this problem. That will be more complicated and arguably overkilling. Bwa-mem is probably better at alignments, but I have not found a simple and convincing way to evaluate it.

        Comment


        • #79
          I should add that subread has the potential to become a very competitive RNA-seq mapper, achieving similar speed and accuracy to STAR. DNA-seq and RNA-seq are different worlds. For DNA-seq, we need very high mapping accuracy to reduce errors in downstream analyses, especially for the discovery of de novo mutations and structural variations. For RNA-seq, however, fluctuations in expression and library contaminations of unspliced and randomly spliced RNAs outweigh mapping errors. It does not matter if a mapper misplaces 1% of reads as long as it can pinpoint most splice junctions. Mapping accuracy comes at a second place. If subread focuses on RNA-seq mapping, it can be a success especially when reads are getting longer. DNA-seq is not the strength of subread in its current implementation.

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by lh3 View Post
            You should not require CIGAR to be the same. When there is an indel at the last couple of bases of a read, there is no way to find the correct CIGAR. In a tandem repeat, multiple CIGARs are equivalent. CIGAR is also greatly affected by scoring matrix. A mapper that uses scoring similar to simulation will perform much better (PS: mason as I remember does not simulate gaps under the affine-gap model, which will bias against the more biological meaningful affine-gap models), while in fact the true scoring matrix varies greatly with loci - you cannot simulate that realistically. In practice, RNA-seq/chip-seq and the discovery of structural variations does not care about CIGAR. The mainstream indel calling pipelines, including samtools, gatk and pindel, all use realignment. They do not trust CIGAR. For SNP calling, BAQ and GATK realignment are specifically designed to tackle this problem which is not solvable from single read alignment. In addition, if we worry about CIGAR, we can do a global alignment to reconstruct it, which is very fast.

            The primary goal of a mapper is to find correct mappings or positions. Without correct mapping positions, none of the above (realignment etc.) will work. CIGAR is a secondary target. By requiring exact CIGAR, you are claiming massive correct mappings as wrong ones, but these have little effect on downstream analyses. You are evaluating an accuracy that does not have much to do with practical analyses. At the same time, the massive incorrect CIGARs completely hide the true mapping accuracy for those accurate mappers such as bowtie 2 and novoalign. The last and bowtie 2 papers are talking about 1e-5 error rate for high mapQ mappings, while you are showing 2% error rate. These are not comparable.
            As I have told you before, the difference in mapping error rate in Subread study vs Bowtie2 study was mainly because we checked the correctness of the CIGAR strings. The known truth included in the simulation data allows you to perform such a precise comparison, which I think is really important for assessing the accuracy of aligners in the highest resolution. It is also important to check if aligners can correctly map the end bases because wrong SNP calls often come from those bases.

            I do not agree with your statement "When there is an indel at the last couple of bases of a read, there is no way to find the correct CIGAR". Subread uses all the indels it found in the dataset to perform a realignment for reads which have indels at its end. This is in principle similar to what GATK does.

            I also do not agree with your statement "The mainstream indel calling pipelines, including samtools, gatk and pindel, all use realignment. They do not trust CIGAR." Why do you need to generate CIGAR strings at the first place if you do not trust them? I think the the realignments performed by gatk etc are based on the CIGAR strings provided by the aligners. So they do trust the CIGAR, but they try to do a better job.

            I do not understand "In addition, if we worry about CIGAR, we can do a global alignment to reconstruct it, which is very fast." If you can do this very fast, why dont you do it at the first place?

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by lh3 View Post
              I should add that subread has the potential to become a very competitive RNA-seq mapper, achieving similar speed and accuracy to STAR. DNA-seq and RNA-seq are different worlds. For DNA-seq, we need very high mapping accuracy to reduce errors in downstream analyses, especially for the discovery of de novo mutations and structural variations. For RNA-seq, however, fluctuations in expression and library contaminations of unspliced and randomly spliced RNAs outweigh mapping errors. It does not matter if a mapper misplaces 1% of reads as long as it can pinpoint most splice junctions. Mapping accuracy comes at a second place. If subread focuses on RNA-seq mapping, it can be a success especially when reads are getting longer. DNA-seq is not the strength of subread in its current implementation.
              I think the mapping accuracy for RNA-seq data is equally important for that for gDNA-seq data. If you got wrong RNA-seq mapping results, how could you get a reliable downstream analysis done to get differentially expressed genes? And how could you accurately call SNPs (important for allele-specific expression analysis), indels and junctions? In some sense, finding genomic mutations from RNA-seq data is more important than doing that for gDNA-seq data because those mutations are likely to be functional.

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by zee View Post
                Congratulations Shi on getting Subread published and I think the theory of it is quite interesting.
                Subread does an interesting comparison of aligners in Table 2 of the publication. This table shows a comparison of mapping RNASeq data to a reference genome. Since the input reads are from the transcriptome I can't see how aligning a higher percentage of reads make it more accurate than Bowtie2, BWA or Novoalign which all report lower alignment percentages. How do we know that these extra alignments are indeed good mappings? If you were aligning with all these mappers to a reference transcriptome (transcript sequences) then this table would make more sense to me.
                The reason other aligners probably report lower alignment percentages is related to Heng's statement about the false positive rate. With RNAseq reads spanning exon-exon junctions these don't align well to a reference sequence and we usually need to add exon-exon junctions to the search space. So an aligner could introduce more error to try and align an exon junction read in the genome space. This is also of concern for SV reads that point to gene fusions.
                It would have been better to compare to GSNAP , STAR, Mapsplice and Tophat for RNASeq comparison with the SEQC dataset. In the practical world I would either need to use these specialized aligners or make my own transcriptome database for searching.

                Thanks for your comments, zee.

                The reason why Subread mapped more RNA-seq reads is because it has the ability to map exon-spanning reads. The seed-and-vote paradigm employed by Subread allows to determine the mapping location of the read using any part of the read sequence and Subread chooses the location mapped by the largest mappable region in the read. We estimated that in a typical RNA-seq dataset there is around 20 percent of reads that are exon-spanning reads and that is roughly the percentage difference shown in Figure 2.

                So the extra mapped reads by Subread were not incorrect alignments, but those exon-spanning reads which were successfully Subread. This was further demonstrated by the comparison results shown in Tables 6 and 7. In this comparison, Subjunc was compared to TopHat 2, TopHat and MapSplice using both simulation data and the SEQC data. Subjunc uses the same mapping paradigm as used by Subread, but it performs complete alignment for exon-spanning reads and also outputs discovered exon-exon junctions. The read mapping locations reported by Subread are virtually the same as those reported by Subjunc, but Subjunc gives the full CIGAR information for junction reads but Subread only gives you the CIGAR for the largest mappable region in each junction reads (soft clipping for unmapped regions). Tables 6 and 7 show that Subjunc achieved excellent accuracy in exon-exon junction detection and in the mapping of RNA-seq reads, therefore this supported the high accuracy shown elsewhere for Subread in the paper.

                Wei

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                • #83
                  It seems that this discussion is going nowhere. I will leave the ROC curves for subread along with other mappers given single-end data. Let's users and readers decide which mappers to use. Command lines can be found here. Some mappers are slower than I would expect probably because the average sequencing error rate is high. If any mapper is misused, please let me know. Thank you. PS: If you are concerned with uniform error rate and my biased view, you can also find other ROC curves from the Bowite2 paper and the LAST paper [PMID:23413433].



                  EDIT: I will not add new post to this thread. Just explain more clearly why we should not compare CIGARs in case others fall into the same pitfall. Firstly, we all know that in a tandem repeat, multiple CIGARs are equivalent. It is not clear from the text whether shi et al have considered this. Secondly, CIGAR is greatly affected by the scoring system used in simulation and in alignment. Two examples:

                  CGATCAGTAGCA......GCTAG-ATACGCAC
                  CGATCA--TGCA......GCTAGCATA-GCAC


                  versus

                  CGATCAGTAGCA......GCTAGAATCGCAC
                  CGATCA-T-GCA......GCTAGCAATGCAC


                  Which alignment is "optimal" is solely determined by mismatch, gap open and gap extension penalties. If the simulator simulates gaps under an edit-distance model, a mapper with a more realistic affine-gap penalty model will look worse. Comparing CIGARs on simulated data is essentially comparing which mapper uses a scoring system closer to the simulator. It has little to do with the true alignment accuracy. Thirdly, most simulation assumes the entire read can be aligned, but in reality, real data can be clipped. CIGAR comparison bias towards glocal alignment, but forcing glocal alignment may lead to false variant calls. Introducing clipping to ~1% of reads has little effect on downstream analyses. Finally, the rate of different CIGARs is several orders of magnitude higher than the mapping error rate. When we compare CIGARs, we are ignoring mapping errors, the errors we care about most. To this end, the ROC curves (Figure 4) in shi et al. have measured neither mapping nor alignment accuracy. The figure does not prove subread is more accurate for genomic read mapping. More proper evaluation of mapping accuracy shows that subread produces errors 100 times more than the competitors at a similar sensitivity. Furthermore, simulating realistic quality or not has little to do with the difference between my ROC and shi et al's ROC curves. Bowtie2 and LAST both simulate realistic quality and their ROC curves show 100-fold lower mapping error rate than shi's version.

                  EDIT2: Ah, have seen shi's latest reply. I am lost... Shi, in the other simulator thread, do you have any idea about why SNPs tend to be more clustered in a coalescent process? In this thread, do you know multiple CIGARs can be equivalent depending on where you put the gaps in a tandem repeat? Do you understand CIGARs are alignments and all alignments are determined by scoring, either explicitly or implicitly? Have you read my two alignment examples? Can you say confidently which is correct? I was assuming you knew at least some of these as a mapper developer. Furthermore, what makes you think my plot is not concrete or convincing? Because it uses uniform error rate? Then how would you explain why my plot is not much different from the ones in the LAST paper where the authors use realistic quality? Have you seen other 8 mappers in my plot? Why they are all doing well except subread? Isn't this a problem? If I masked mapper names, would you think the lightblue curve has any chance to match others on realistic simulation? Am I supposed to bias towards other mappers only to bush subread? Have you thought about why I only take on subread while openly sing praise for bowtie 2 (since beta 5; the discussions at the beginning of this thread is mostly about beta2 or so), gsnap, gem and novoalign? Why haven't I criticized the bowtie2, LAST and GEM papers when they all show bwa-backtrack is inferior? No one knows everything. Just learn. Finally, it is good for me to know I am unprofessional on sequence alignment. (Um.. probably I am unprofessional on engaging this discussion. Sorry.)
                  Last edited by lh3; 04-27-2013, 05:35 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    For the purpose of comparison, I also attach our evaluation results. Clearly, remarkable differences can be observed between the results from different evaluation studies. Briefly, our evaluation had the following features:

                    (1) A read had to have a correct CIGAR string in addition to having the correct mapping location if was called a correctly mapped reads (all aligners had relatively low accuracy with this stringent criteria).
                    (2) Real quality scores (from a SEQC data) was used in our simulator (read bases were mutated according to their quality scores), giving rise to a simulation dataset highly similar to the real Illumina sequencing data.
                    (3) Read length is 100bp.
                    (4) SNPs and indels were introduced to the reference genome before simulated reads were extracted.
                    (5) A third-party simulation software (Mason) was also included in our evaluation.

                    For more information about our evaluation, please refer to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23558742

                    Last edited by shi; 04-26-2013, 08:17 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      EDIT: I will not add new post to this thread. Just explain more clearly why we should not compare CIGARs in case others fall into the same pitfall. Firstly, we all know that in a tandem repeat, multiple CIGARs are equivalent. It is not clear from the text whether shi et al have considered this. Secondly, CIGAR is greatly affected by the scoring system used in simulation and in alignment. Two examples:

                      CGATCAGTAGCA......GCTAG-ATACGCAC
                      CGATCA--TGCA......GCTAGCATA-GCAC


                      versus

                      CGATCAGTAGCA......GCTAGAATCGCAC
                      CGATCA-T-GCA......GCTAGCAATGCAC


                      Which alignment is "optimal" is solely determined by mismatch, gap open and gap extension penalties. If the simulator simulates gaps under an edit-distance model, a mapper with a more realistic affine-gap penalty model will look worse. Comparing CIGARs on simulated data is essentially comparing which mapper uses a scoring system closer to the simulator. It has little to do with the true alignment accuracy. Thirdly, most simulation assumes the entire read can be aligned, but in reality, real data can be clipped. CIGAR comparison bias towards glocal alignment, but forcing glocal alignment may lead to false variant calls. Introducing clipping to ~1% of reads has little effect on downstream analyses. Finally, the rate of different CIGARs is several orders of magnitude higher than the mapping error rate. When we compare CIGARs, we are ignoring mapping errors, the errors we care about most. To this end, the ROC curves (Figure 4) in shi et al. have measured neither mapping nor alignment accuracy. The figure does not prove subread is more accurate for genomic read mapping. More proper evaluation of mapping accuracy shows that subread produces errors 100 times more than the competitors at a similar sensitivity.

                      It makes absolute sense to me to compare the accuracy of aligners in terms of CIGAR correctness in addition to the correct mapping location. That's certainly not a pitfall. In this way, the accuracy of aligners can be measured in the highest resolution. I can not see how could this cause a problem for dealing with the tandem repeat sequences.

                      It does not make sense to me that your scoring system affects the values of a CIGAR string. The CIGAR just tells you matches/mismatches, insertions, deletions, unmapped bases, irrelevant to your scoring system.

                      It is an irresponsible way to say that Subread is 100 times less accurate than your aligner without having concrete and convincing evidence. It is absolutely fine for me that you do not like our aligners. But the discussion should be conducted in a professional way that will help advance this field.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        BWA-MEM vs Nucmer

                        @lh3

                        I now read the paper that you pointed out to me earlier comparing different aligners:

                        Summary: BWA-MEM is a new alignment algorithm for aligning sequence reads or long query sequences against a large reference genome such as human. It automatically chooses between local and end-to-end alignments, supports paired-end reads and performs chimeric alignment. The algorithm is robust to sequencing errors and applicable to a wide range of sequence lengths from 70bp to a few megabases. For mapping 100bp sequences, BWA-MEM shows better performance than several state-of-art read aligners to date. Availability and implementation: BWA-MEM is implemented as a component of BWA, which is available at http://github.com/lh3/bwa. Contact: [email protected]


                        It looks like BWA-MEM is the best choice for paired-end reads, and the best choice for longer reads. I notice in the paper that you mentioned that BWA-MEM scales well to large genomes than Nucmer. What do you really mean by this as you have not supported this by any data or figure ?

                        Also, you compared Nucmer with BWA-MEM only for genome size data of 4.6 Mb. Would it also make sense to include Nucmer in short read aligner comparisons , and see how it performs ?

                        Further, to check the accuracy of Nucmer and BWA-MEM for large size data such as 4.6 Mb, would it not be more meaningful to align a genome to itself and see which one of the two tools give lesser substitution ? This might be better than aligning two different strain genome to check accuracy. Essentially this is the same approach you adopted for comparing different short-read aligners using simulated reads of human genome to align to human genome itself.

                        Narain

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Someone told me that MUMmer has a hard-coded length limit something around 512Mbp, but I have not checked myself. Anyway, MUMmer uses about 14 bytes per base. Even if it does not have the length limit, it will need 40GB RAM to index human. That is why few use MUMmer to align against mammalian genomes (I think this is a well accepted conclusion). BWA and others use much less RAM for large genomes.

                          Because of the large RAM requirements, I have not tried MUMmer on short reads, but I doubt its post-processor nucmer is well tuned for short query sequences. Lacking the SAM output also adds works in comparisons. Nonetheless, in theory one can use MUMmer for seed alignment and post-process the maximal-exact matches reported by MUMmer to get an accuracy similar to other mappers and to generate SAM output. That requires a lot of additional works.

                          Even if you add SNPs and short indels to E. coli, aligning a genome to itself is too simple to evaluate the performance of a whole-genome aligner. Any reasonable genome aligners can trivially give the right result. There will be differences in the placement of indels, but that again is determined by how close the aligner's scoring matrix is to the simulator's matrix, but not by the true accuracy of aligners.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Actually in the fermi paper, I used a table and three paragraphs to discuss indel calling, more than SNP calling. Increasingly more evidence suggests that for a high coverage sample, de novo assembly or local re-assembly based approaches usually perform better for indel calling.

                            Indels from the fermi alignment were called from raw mpileup output without any indel realignment models (for short reads, dindel, freebayes, samtools and gatk all use sophisticated indel realignment). I only used an awk one-liner to filter raw mpileup output. I use mummer and I know its dnadiff is simpler, but mummer does not work well with mammalian genomes and without SAM/BAM output, it is hard to visualize its alignment to investigate potential problems.

                            Readjoiner is very impressive. It was indeed faster than SGA. However, at least at the time of publication, it only implements graph generation. It lacks error correction, graph cleaning and scaffolding, which are less interesting theoretically but more important to good assembly in practice. These steps may also take more time and memory than graph generation. In addition, with a reimplementation of the BCR algorithm, both sga and fermi are much faster now than before. With multiple threads, they may take less wall-clock time than readjoiner for graph generation (readjoiner uses 51 hours to assemble 40X simulated human data according to its paper; fermi can build index and generate graph in 24 wall-clock hours for 36X real human data). Someone has also found a potentially faster prefix-suffix matching algorithm than readjoiner in terms of CPU time. As a note, fermi and SGA essentially index all the substrings of reads. In theory, they should be slower than readjoiner which only looks for prefix-suffix matches.

                            At last, I did not develope fermi as a pure de novo assembler. A few others (Jared, Richard and Anthony Cox) and I are more interested in exploring FM-index for other applications.
                            Last edited by lh3; 05-13-2013, 11:12 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              I'm glad to see that people stepped away from using terms like sensitivity, specificity, false positive rate, true positive rate, etc. All of those metrics rely on knowledge of true negative and false negative counts. So unless the simulation intentionally includes data that should NOT align then the expected negative count is always zero and therefore you can have no true negatives. Since TN is in the numerator of specificity then it will also always be 0. Since false positive rate is calculated as (fp)/(fp+tn) and true positive rate is (tp)/(tp+fn) it seems to me impossible to use those terms for these evaluations either.

                              It seems to be that precision and recall are more appropriate since they only rely on one's definition of "relevant returns". For a mapper one could define that as alignment placed within N bp of actual where N is whatever you think appropriate. Then the precision becomes (relevant_aligned)/(aligned_reads) (which is the same as (TP)/(TP+FP) AKA the positive predictive value) and recall is (properly aligned)/total_simulated_reads. Finally you can conveniently calculate the f-measure to combine these two values into a single value which is handy for making plots. I also like the look of plotting precision vs recall but I don't know if that's standard practice.
                              /* Shawn Driscoll, Gene Expression Laboratory, Pfaff
                              Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA */

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                              • #90
                                I would suggest you make a new thread. You can also ask on the samtools-help mailing list.

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