Background: The data volume generated by Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies is growing at a pace that is now challenging the storage and data processing capacities of modern computer systems. In this context an important aspect is the reduction of data complexity by collapsing redundant reads in a single cluster to improve the run time, memory requirements, and quality of post-processing steps like assembly and error correction. Several alignment-free measures, based on k-mers counts, have been used to cluster reads. Results: In this scenario it will be fundamental to exploit quality value information within the alignment-free framework. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study that incorporates quality value information and k-mers counts, in the context of alignment-free measures, for the comparison of reads data. Based on this principles, in this paper we present a family of alignment-free measures called Dq-type. A set of experiments on simulated and real reads data confirms that the new measures are superior to other classical alignment-free statistics, especially when erroneous reads are considered. Also results on de novo assembly and metagenomic reads classification show that the introduction of quality values improves over standard alignment-free measures.
Comin, M., Leoni, A., & Schimd, M. (2015). Clustering of reads with alignment-free measures and quality values. Algorithms for Molecular Biology, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13015-014-0029-x