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Keywords:

  • bioinformatics;
  • conservation genomics;
  • genome assembly;
  • next generation sequencing;
  • vertebrates;
  • whole - genome sequencing.

Abstract

Genome sequencing projects were long confined to biomedical model organisms and required the concerted effort of large consortia. Rapid progress in high-throughput sequencing technology and the simultaneous development of bioinformatic tools have democratized the field. It is now within reach for individual research groups in the eco-evolutionary and conservation community to generate de novo draft genome sequences for any organism of choice. Because of the cost and considerable effort involved in such an endeavour, the important first step is to thoroughly consider whether a genome sequence is necessary for addressing the biological question at hand. Once this decision is taken, a genome project requires careful planning with respect to the organism involved and the intended quality of the genome draft. Here, we briefly review the state of the art within this field and provide a step-by-step introduction to the workflow involved in genome sequencing, assembly and annotation with particular reference to large and complex genomes. This tutorial is targeted at scientists with a background in conservation genetics, but more generally, provides useful practical guidance for researchers engaging in whole-genome sequencing projects.