If You are Using Gene Myers' Daligner

If You are Using Gene Myers' Daligner

After a few false starts, we managed to make Daligner work optimally on a large Pacbio library. Here is a quick summary of our experiences to help anyone following the same path.



The algorithm is described in the following blog post and is summarized below.

In DALIGN Paper, Gene Myers Delivers a Major Blow to His Biggest Competitor

Like most other alignment programs (BWAMEM, BLASR), it has two components. The first part searches for common kmers present in reference and target sequence. The other competing programs use Burrows Wheeler transform of reference, but Gene Myers developed a very clever algorithm to take advantage of L1 caches and perform a direct comparison.

The second part does finer alignment between the reference and target, and most competing programs use Smith-Waterman to do local alignment. Instead, Gene Myers used O(ND) algorithm, which usually faces difficulty in aligning long regions due to rapid rise of off-target alignments. Once again, Gene Myers used a Pacbio-specific condition (complete randomness of errors) to cut down those unlikely alignments.



The programs are well documented, but if things do not work for the first time, do try out the simulator that comes with DAZZLER_DB. Run the following commands and you are guaranteed to see results. Then you can compare with your case to debug the step that is not working.


simulator 1.0 >G.fasta // Generate a 20x data sets of a 1Mb genome

fasta2DB G G.fasta // Create a compressed data base of the reads, G.db

rm G.fasta // Redundant, recreate any time with “DB2fasta G”

DBsplit -s11 G // Split G into 2 parts of size ~ 11MB each

DBdust G.1 // Produce a “dust” track on each part (just to illustrate)

DBdust G.2

Catrack G // Create one track for the entire DB from the 2 sub-tracks

rm G..dust. // Clean up the sub-tracks

DBstats G // Take a look at the statistics for the database


Here are the common pitfalls -

(i) The FASTA file headers need to be in Pacbio format that includes quality score. You can do that by writing a simple script that converts each non- Pacbio fasta ID to something like this.

>Prolog/$ID/0_$L RQ=0.850

(ii) Do remember to run daligner with the ‘-d’ option (dust cleanup of low- complexity kmers), because the program may crash (Seg fault) otherwise on large blocks of reads. (Note. We were working with the July 22 release of the code, where the problem was quite frequent. Not sure about the latest one, but saw someone to report a bug on exactly the same point. We are now using the latest code, but did not bother to check without ‘-d’ to see whether the problem is gone.)

(iii) If you want to run daligner with different number of threads than default (=4), some code hacking is necessary. Go to ‘filter.h’ and change the following two lines correctly. Recompile and everything should work as expected.

`#define NTHREADS 32 // Must be a power of 2

#define NSHIFT 5 // log_2 NTHREADS`

(iv) For faster execution, you may want to run the code with ‘-t’ option to reduce the number of commonly present kmers.

(v) Jared Simpson wrote a new module for processing daligner output that you may find handy. We have not used it yet.

Quick Update on Pacbio and DALIGNER Jared Simpsons GFA Module

If anything else comes up, we will add to the above list.

Written by M. //