PacBio Assembly Tool Suite: Reads in ⇨ Assembly out
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PacBio Assembly Tool Suite: Reads in ⇨ Assembly out


The latest pre-release, experts-only linux/mac binaries can be installed via bioconda.

conda install pb-assembly

Alternatively, if you don't have administrator access you can install the pb-assembly suite into an environment in your $HOME directory

conda create -n denovo_asm
source activate denovo_asm
conda install pb-assembly

Please refer to our official pbbioconda page for information on Installation, Support, License, Copyright, and Disclaimer.

GitHub issues can be filed here for problems and questions.

If you are looking for a GUI based long read de novo genome assembler, you are urged to learn about HGAP4


pb-assembly is the bioconda recipe encompassing all code and dependencies necessary to run:

  • FALCON assembly pipeline
  • FALCON-Unzip to phase the genome and perform phased-polishing with Arrow
  • FALCON-Phase to extend phasing between unzipped haplotig blocks (requires HiC data)

Installed package recipes include:

- pb-falcon
- pb-dazzler
- genomicconsensus
- etc (all other dependencies)

General Overview


FALCON and FALCON-Unzip are de novo genome assemblers for PacBio long reads, also known as Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequences. FALCON is a diploid-aware assembler which follows the hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) and is optimized for large genome assembly though microbial genomes can also be assembled. FALCON produces a set of primary contigs (p-contigs) as the primary assembly and a set of associate contigs (a-contigs) which represent divergent allelic variants. Each a-contig is associated with a homologous genomic region on an p-contig.

FALCON-Unzip is a true diploid assembler. It takes the contigs from FALCON and phases the reads based on heterozygous SNPs identified in the initial assembly. It then produces a set of partially-phased primary contigs and fully-phased haplotigs which represent divergent haplotypes.


This method maps HiC data to the FALCON-Unzip assembly to fix phase switches between haplotigs within primary contigs. Read the preprint and manual. A stand-alone version 1 of the software is available through our co-developer, Phase Genomics. Version 2 is being integrated into bioconda and is still undergoing testing. Use at your own risk!

Hierarchical Genome Assembly Process (aka non-hybrid PacBio assembly)

Assembly with PacBio data uses the hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP). The first round is pre-assembly or error correcction of the long reads. This involves the selection of seed reads or the longest reads in the dataset (user-defined length_cutoff). All shorter reads are aligned to the seed reads, in order to generate consensus sequences with high accuracy. We refer to these as pre-assembled reads and they can also be thought of as “error corrected” reads. Preassembled reads tend to have accuracy > 99%.

In the next round of HGAP, the preads are aligned to each other and assembled into genomic contigs.

Assembly is typically followed by a round of polishing where all raw PacBio subreads are aligned to the draft contigs and genomic consensus is performed. Polishing greatly increases base quality of the assembly.


For more complex genomes assembled with FALCON, “bubbles” in the contig-assembly graph that result from structural variation between haplotypes may be resolved as associate and primary contigs. The unzip process will extend haplotype phasing beyond “bubble” regions, increasing the amount of phased contig sequence. It is important to note that while individual haplotype blocks are phased, phasing does not extend between haplotigs. Thus, in part C) of the figure below, haplotig_1 and haplotig_2 may originate from different parental haplotypes. Additional information is needed to phase the haplotype blocks with each other such as Hi-C, see FALCON-Phase as a method for extended phasing.

FALCON pipeline

FALCON-Phase involves processing the FALCON-Unzip contigs into unzipped blocks (haplotigs pairs) and collapsed haplotypes and then mappin the HiC data in order to correctly separate the unzipped regions into pahses.

FALCON Phase pipeline

What's New in PB Assembly

(September 2018)


  • Repeat Masking Integration of Tandem repeat masking (done) and general repeat masking (done)

  • New! GFA and Placement Files -GFA-1 and GFA-2 output for assembly graphs -placement files for associate contigs (contig.gfa2)

  • Increased Accuracy of Associate Contigs -algorithm and alignment improvements (Edlib integration)

  • Performance Improvements -general workflow and resource specification improvements -easier integration of future features with Pbsmrtpipe


  • Improved Haplotig Extraction -algorithm and data structure improvements reduce haplotype switching and improve extraction -can now handle circular contigs!

  • New! Placement Files -haplotig placement (PAF format) generated in 3-unzip stage

  • Performance Improvements -use of minimap2 instead of BLASR for phasing in Unzip significantly reduces runtime -unzipping and polishing now part of single workflow -reduced memory requirements


  • New integration into pb-assembly pipeline



fc_run fc_run.cfg

Unzip and polish fc_unzip.cfg

Extended phasing with HiC fc_phase.cfg


Both FALCON and FALCON-Unzip take a config file as their only input parameter.

Here is a sample fc_run.cfg that was designed to work with the 200kb test case found below.

Here is a sample fc_run.cfg that was used with a recent ~2.9Gb human genome assembly.

FALCON Configuration

The FALCON pipeline has three main steps which occur in distinct directories:

Subdirectory Description
0-rawreads raw read overlapping and consensus calling, also known as pre-assembly
1-preads_ovl pre-assembled read overlapping or pread overlapping
2-asm-falcon contig assembly

Many of the tools that comprise the FALCON Assembly pipeline were written by Gene Myers and are extensively documented at his dazzlerblog.

Below is a breakdown of the configuration options available to FALCON:



Your list of paths to the input fasta files is specified in your input_fofn and your input_type can be either raw or preads. If specifying preads, the pipeline will skip the entire 0-rawreads pre-assembly phase.

By default, dusting is turned on and is run after generating the raw read database with default options as recommended by Gene Meyer's. If you wish to modify your dusting parameters you can set the flag pa_DBdust_option.

Filtering options for your input data for pre-assembly can also be set with the pa_fasta_filter_option flag. The default is streamed-internal-median which uses the median-length subread for each ZMW (sequencing reaction well). Choosing the longest subread can lead to an enrichment in chimeric molecules. Users will rarely need to change this option from the default.

Recognized values are described below.

Value Setting
pass The no-op filter - passes every FASTA record to the database.
streamed-median Applies the median-length ZMW filter by running a single-pass over the data. The input subreads should be groupped by ZMW.
streamed-internal-median Applies the median-length ZMW filter only on internal subreads (ZMWs with >= 3 subreads) by running a single pass over the data. The input subreads should be groupped by ZMW. For ZMWs with < 3 subreads, the maximum-length one is selected.

Data Partitioning

# large genomes
pa_DBsplit_option=-x500 -s200
ovlp_DBsplit_option=-x500 -s200

# small genomes (<10Mb)
pa_DBsplit_option = -x500 -s50
ovlp_DBsplit_option = -x500 -s50

For the first and second stages of FALCON, the data needs to be read in to a dazzler DB. The -x flag filters reads smaller than what's specified while the -s flag controls the size of DB blocks. The -a option should not be used here in conjunction with pa_fasta_filter_option=pass as it uses all reads per ZMW which can lead to errors is preassembly.

Repeat Masking


Repeat masking occurs in two phases, Tandem and Interspersed. Tandem repeat masking is run with a modified version of daligner called datander and thus uses a similar parameter set. Whatever settings you use for pre-assembly daligner overlapping in the next section (pa_daligner_option) will be used here for tandem repeat masking. You can supply additional arguments for tandem repeat masking that will be passed to HPC.TANmask with the pa_HPCTANmask_option.

The second phase of masking deals with interspersed repeats and can be run in up to 3 iterations specified with the pa_REPmask_code option. The parameters needed for each iteration are both the group size and coverage specified as group,coverage pairs separated by semicolons as seen above.

For information and theory on how to set up your rounds of repeat masking, consult this blog post.


pa_HPCdaligner_option=-v -B128 -M24
pa_daligner_option=-e0.8 -l2000 -k18 -h480  -w8 -s100
falcon_sense_option=--output-multi --min-idt 0.70 --min-cov 3 --max-n-read 400

During pre-assembly, the PacBio subreads are aligned and error correction is performed. The longest subreads are chosen as seed reads and all shorter reads are aligned to them and consensus sequences are generated from the alignments. These consensus sequences are called pre-assembled reads or preads and generally have accuracy greater than 99% or QV20.

If you wish to auto-calculate your seed read coverage, then it's necessary to enter your genome_size in base pairs, the desired seed_coverage as well as set length_cutoff=-1 to force the auto-calculation. We generally recommend 20-40x seed coverage. Alternatively, if you don't know your genome size, are unsure of the seed_coverage you would like to use or if you would rather just leverage all reads above a specific length, you can use the the length_cutoff flag to manually set that limit. It's important to note that whatever value length_cutoff gets set to is a limit that carries through to the unzipping algorithm, and any reads smaller than that cutoff will not be used for phasing. For assembly alone, there is likely no harm in setting a high length_cutoff, unless you are expecting a certain feature like micro chromosomes or short circular plasmids. Howevere, if you are planning to unzip, then you will be artificially limiting your phasing dataset and it's probably in your interest to have a lower length_cutoff. The majority of computation occurs in preassembly so if compute time is important to you, increasing length_cutoff will increase efficiency but with the tradeoffs described above.

Overlap options for daligner are set with the pa_HPCdaligner_option and pa_daligner_option flags. Previous versions of FALCON had a single parameter. This is now split into two flags, one that affects requested resources pa_HPCdaligner_option and one that affects the overlap search pa_daligner_option. For pa_HPCdaligner_option, the -v parameter is passed to the LAsort and LAmerge programs while -B and -M parameters are passed to the daligner sub-commands.

To understand the theory and how to configure daligner see this blog post and this command reference guide.

For daligner, in general we recommend the following:

-e: average correlation rate (average sequence identity)

0.70 (low quality data) - 0.80 (high quality data). A higher value will help prevent haplotype collapse.

-l: minimum length of overlap

1000 (shorter library) - 5000 (longer library)

-k: kmer size

14 (low quality data) - 18 (high quality data)

Lower values of -k have higher sensitivity at the tradeoff of increased diskspace, memory consumption and slower run time and tend to work best with lower quality data. In contrast, a larger kmer value for -k has a higher specificity, uses less system resources and runs faster, but will only be suitable for high quality data.

You can configure basic pre-assembly consensus calling options with the falcon_sense_option flag. The --output-multi flag is necessary for generating proper fasta headers and should not be removed unless your specific use case requires it. The parameters --min-idt, --min-cov and --max-n-read set the minimum alignment identity, minimum coverage necessary and max number of reads, respectively, for calling consensus to make the preads.

By default, -fo are the parameters passed to LA4Falcon. The option falcon_sense_greedy changes this parameter set to -fog which essentially attempts to maintain relative information between reads that have been broken due to regions of low quality.

Pread overlapping

ovlp_daligner_option=-e.96 -s1000 -h60
ovlp_HPCdaligner_option=-v -M24 -l500

The second phase of error-corrected read overlapping occurs in a similar fashion to the overlapping performed in the pre-assembly, however no repeat masking is performed and no consensus is called. Overlaps are identified and fed into the final assembly. The parameter options work the same way as described above in the pre-assembly section.

Recommendation for preads:

-e: average correlation rate (average sequence identity)

0.93 (inbred) - 0.96 (outbred)

-l: minimum length of overlap

1800 (poor preassembly, short/low quality library) - 6000 (long, high quality library)

-k: kmer size

18 (low quality) - 24 (most cases)

Final Assembly

overlap_filtering_setting=--max-diff 100 --max-cov 100 --min-cov 2

The option overlap_filter_setting allows setting criteria for filtering pread overlaps. --max-diff filters overlaps that have a coverage difference between the 5' and 3' ends larger than specified. --max-cov filters highly represented overlaps typically caused by contaminants or repeats and --min-cov allows specification of a minimum overlap coverage. Setting --min-cov too low will allow more overlaps to be detected at the expense of additional chimeric / mis-assemblies.

length_cutoff_pr is the minimum length of pre-assembled preads used for the final assembly. Typically, this value is set to allow for approximately 15 to 30-fold coverage of corrected reads in the final assembly.

Miscellaneous configuration options

Additional configuration options that don't necessarily fit into one of the previous categories are described here.


FALCON can be configured to stop after any of its three stages with the target flag set to either overlapping, pre-assembly or assembly. Each option will stop the pipeline at the end of its corresponding stage, 0-rawreads, 1-preads_ovl or 2-asm-falcon respectively. The default is full assembly pipeline.

The flag skip_checks disables .las file checks with LAcheck which has been known to cause errors on certain systems in the past.

The option LA4Falcon_preload passes the -P parameter to LA4Falcon which causes all the reads to be loaded into memory. On slow filesystems this can speed things up significantly; but it will dramatically increase the memory requirement for the consensus stage.

Job Distribution

JOB_QUEUE = default
MB = 32768
njobs = 32
submit = qsub -S /bin/bash -sync y -V  \
  -q ${JOB_QUEUE}     \
  -N ${JOB_NAME}      \
  -o "${JOB_STDOUT}"  \
  -e "${JOB_STDERR}"  \
  -pe smp ${NPROC}    \
  -l h_vmem=${MB}M    \


Default job configuration options are specified in the [job.defaults] section of your config file. The first option you should set that controls the flow of your job is the process watcher, pwatcher_type. There two possible values you can set, either blocking or fs_based. fs_based is the default and relies on the pipeline polling the file system periodically to determine whether a sentinel file has appeared that would signal the pipeline to continue. The other option is to use a blocking process watcher which can help with systems that have issues with filesystem latency. In this case, the end of the job is determined by the finishing of the system call, rather than by file system polling.

The next most important option is the job_type. Allowed values are sge, pbs, torque, slurm, lsf and local. If running on a cluster, you need to configure the submit string to work with your job scheduler. The submit string in the sample above is a tested and working SGE submit string.

Some example job_type configurations and submit string are listed for convenience in the following table. You may need to modify some of the parameters to work with your job scheduler.

job_type submit
local bash -C ${CMD} >| ${STDOUT_FILE} 2>| ${STDERR_FILE}
sge qsub -S /bin/bash -sync y -V -q myqueue -N ${JOB_NAME} -o "${JOB_STDOUT}" -e "${JOB_STDERR}" -pe smp ${NPROC} -l h_vmem=${MB}M "${JOB_SCRIPT}"
lsf bsub -K -q myqueue -J ${JOB_NAME} -o ${JOB_STDOUT} -e ${JOB_STDERR} ${JOB_SCRIPT}
slurm srun --wait=0 -p myqueue -J ${JOB_NAME} -o ${JOB_STDOUT} -e ${JOB_STDERR} --mem-per-cpu=${MB}M --cpus-per-task=${NPROC} ${JOB_SCRIPT}

For further information about how to configure for job schedulers other than SGE (PBS/LSF/Slurm/hermit) see the pypeflow wiki

Next you will find your job distribution settings. You will find settings for your default job queue JOB_QUEUE, memory allocated per job MB, number of processors per job NPROC as well as number of concurrently running jobs njobs.

Each stage of the assembly pipeline can be given different default parameters with different [job.step.*] sections. There are 6 optional stages you can configure by using different 2-3 letter codes. da and la refer to pre-assembly daligner jobs and pre-assembly LAshow/LAsort jobs respectively. cns refers to the pread consensus calling stage. pda and pla refer to the pread daligner overlapping and pread LAshow/LAsort stages respectively while asm refers to the final assembly. If you omit a specific [job.step.*] section, the [job.defaults] will be applied. [job.step.da], [], [job.step.cns], [job.step.pda], [job.step.pla], and [job.step.asm] are the available sections.

FALCON-Unzip Configuration

FALCON-Unzip has two main steps which occur in distinct directories:

Subdirectory Description
3-unzip read alignment, SNP calling, read phasing, and diploid assembly of primary contigs and haplotigs
4-polish phased polishing in which reads are used to polish in a haplotype-specific manner using BLASR and arrow
max_n_open_files = 1000

FALCON-Unzip configuration is quite simple as the majority of the options have to do exclusively with job distribution. The first and only setting in the [General] section is for max_n_open_files. During the read tracking stage the pipeline can be writing to many .sam files at the same time. This can cause problems with certain networked filesystems, so the default is to set max_n_open_files=300. Feel free to raise this number if file system latency is not an issue for you.

Similar to FALCON, the parameter input_fofn simply refers to the input file of fasta names. This setting should be redundant with your fc_run.cfg. Finally, if you wish to polish your unzipped genome, you will need to also specify a list of your input bam files with input_bam_fofn.

Here is a sample fc_unzip.cfg that will need to be tuned to your compute environment.

Job Distribution

Configuration of your [job.defaults] section is identical to FALCON as described previously. The only difference are the job specific settings specific to FALCON-Unzip. Available sections are [job.step.unzip_track_reads], [job.step.unzip_blasr_aln], [job.step.unzip.phasing] and [job.step.unzip.hasm]

Example Data Set

To test your installation above you can download and run this small 200kb test case.

git clone
git clone
cd FALCON-examples
../git-sym/git-sym update run/greg200k-sv2

Once you have the data, you can test the pipeline in local or distributed mode by editing the fc_run.cfg file found in the run directory.

cd run/greg200k-sv2
fc_run fc_run.cfg fc_unzip.cfg

If everything was installed properly the test case will exit cleanly and you should find fasta files with a
size greater than 0 in the 4-polish/cns-output directory.

We have also made a larger dataset available that can be used to run the complete pipeline: FALCON, FALCON-Unzip and FALCON-Phase. The data link contains PacBio reads in BAM and FASTA format for assembly and unzipping, HiC reads for extended phasing, config files for each step of the pipeline, and output files to assess your results.


Where can I report issues / bugs / feature requests?

Please use this handy bug report template.

What coverage do I need for de novo assembly and polishing?

When planning for a project, you should consider two types of coverage: Sequence coverage is the total bases generated divided by the genome size. Unique molecular coverage or physical coverage is the number of unique bases divided by the genome size. PacBio sequencing can generate multiple subreads for a single template molecule because within a reaction well, the polymerase may make multiple passes around the circular library molecule. How many passes depends on the movie length and the length of the insert, among other factors. For de novo genome assembly, we recommend selecting only a single subread per reaction well. This reduces the rate of chimerism/misassembly in the resulting contigs. However, we recommend using all subreads when polishing your contigs in order to get the highest base qualities.

In general, we recommend:

  • 30-50X unique molecular coverage per haplotye for assembly

  • 50-80X sequencing coverage per haplotype for polishing

Coverage requirements scale linearly by the number of unique haplotypes. For example, a highly heterozygous diploid may require double the coverage recommend above, while a homozygous tetraploid may also require double coverage (in a case where haplotypes are identical, but homeologs are not).

Can I start from corrected reads?

Yes. The option input_type can be set to either raw or preads. In the case of the latter, will assume the fasta files in input_fofn are all error-corrected reads and it will ignore any pre-assembly step and go directly into the final assembly overlapping step.

What's the difference between a Primary and an Associated contig?

Primary contigs can be thought of as the longest continuous stretches of assembled sequence, while associate contigs can be thought of mostly as structural variants that occur over the length of the primary contigs. Thus, each alternate primary contig configuration (associated contig) can be "associated" with its primary based on its XXXXXXF prefix.

Some basic information about how the associated contigs are generated can be found in this speakerdeck, and also here (pg.14-15).

Conceptually, if a genome is haploid, then all contigs should be primary contigs. However, often there will usually still be some associated contigs generated. This is likely due to:

  1. Sequencing errors
  2. Segmental duplications

For the first case, Quiver should help by filtering out low quality contigs. Since there is more sequence in the set of primary contigs for blasr to anchor reads and there is no true unique region in the erroneous associated contigs, the raw read coverage of them should be low. We can thus filter low quality associated contig consensus as there won't be much raw read data to support them.

For the second case, one could potentially partition the reads into different haplotype groups and construct an assembly graph for each haplotype and generate contigs accordingly.

If a genome is a diploid, most of the associated contigs will be locally alternative alleles. Typically, when there are big structural variations between homologous chromosomes, there will be alternative paths in the assembly graph and the alternative paths correspond to the associated contigs. In such case, the primary contigs are “fused contigs” from both haplotypes.

FALCON-Unzip is currently being developed to resolve the haplotypes so haplotigs can be generated. Two videos illustrating the concept - (Video 1 , Video 2)

A slide illustrating the method on a synthetic genome.

What are the differences between a_ctg.fasta and a_ctg_base.fasta

The file a_ctg_base.fasta contains the sequences in the primary contigs fasta that correspond to the associated contigs inside a_ctg.fasta. Namely, each sequence of a_ctg_base.fasta is a contiguous sub-sequence of a primary contig. For each sequence inside a_ctg_base.fasta, there are one or more associated contigs in a_ctg.fasta.

Why don't I have two perfectly phased haplotypes after FALCON-Unzip?

It's useful to first understand that not all genomes are alike. Haploid genomes are the ideal use case of genome assembly since there is only one haplotype phase present and assembly is trivial if you have reads long enough to span repeats. Diploid and (allo/auto)polyploid genomes become difficult as there are two or more haplotype phases present. This fact, coupled with widely varying levels of heterozygosity and structural variation lead to complications during the assembly process. To understand your FALCON output, it's useful to look at this supplemental figure from the FALCON-Unzip paper:

Heterozygosity levels

Consider the first line as a cartoon illustrating 3 ranges of heterozygosity (low/medium/high). In general, all genomes will have regions that fall into each of these three categories depending on organismal biology. During the first step of the FALCON assembly process, a diploid aware assembly graph is generated. At this point, in medium heterozygosity regions structural variation information is captured as bubbles or alternative pathways in the assembly graph whereas at high levels of heterozygosity the haplotype phases assemble into distinct primary assembly graphs.

The FALCON-Unzip add-on module to the FALCON pipeline is an attempt to leverage the heterozygous SNP information to phase the medium level heterozygosity regions of the genome. Low heterozygosity regions have insufficient SNP density for phasing, while high heterozygosity regions will likely have already been assembled as distinct haplotypes in the primary contigs.

FALCON-Unzip yields two fasta files. One containing primary contigs, and one containing haplotigs. The primary contigs fasta file is the main output that most people consider first and should consist of the majority of your genome. Primary contigs are considered partially-phased. What this means is that even after the unzipping process, certain regions with insufficient SNP density are unable to be phased and are thus represented as collapsed haplotypes. The presence of these regions of low heterozygosity makes it impossible to maintain phase across the entire primary contig. Therefore, primary contigs may contain phase-switches between unzipped regions. The haplotigs file will consist of regions of the genome that are able to be unzipped or phased and are considered fully phased. This means there should be no phase switching within a haplotig and each haplotig should represent only one phase. See this figure for reference:

Phase switch

It's also important to note that in high heterozygosity situations, we often see the primary contig fasta file approaching 1.5X+ the expected haploid genome size, due to the assembly of both phases of certain chromosomes or chromosomal regions in the primary assembly.

Also, one needs to consider that FALCON-Unzip was designed to phase the plant and fungal genomes in the 2016 Nature Methods paper above. Many people have successfully used it to help phase their genome of interest, but as always with free software on the internet, your results may vary.

How much haplotype divergence can FALCON-Unzip handle?

The magnitude of haplotype divergence determines the structure of the resulting FALCON-Unzip assembly. Genomic regions with low heterozygosity will be assembled as a collapsed haplotype on a single primary contig. Haplotypes up to ~5% diverged will be unzipped, while highly divergent haplotypes will be assembled on different primary contigs. In the latter case, it is up to the user to identify these contigs as homologous using gene annotation or sequence alignment.

For a variety of FALCON-Unzip assemblies, here is the distribution of haplotype divergence for unzipped regions. Each haplotig was aligned to the corresponding primary contig with nucmer, filtered with delta-filter and divergence was estimated with show-coords. (Data credits to John Williams, Tim Smith, Paolo Ajmone-Marsan, David Hume, Erich Jarvis, John Henning, Dave Hendrix, Carlos Machado, and Iago Hale).

Haplotype diversity

How do I assess performance of preassembly / data quality?

Preassembly performance is summarized in the file: 0-rawreads/report/pre_assembly_stats.json.

    $ cat 0-rawreads/report/pre_assembly_stats.json

    "genome_length": 4652500,
    "length_cutoff": 15000,
    "preassembled_bases": 350302363,
    "preassembled_coverage": 75.293,
    "preassembled_mean": 10730.33,
    "preassembled_n50": 16120,
    "preassembled_p95": 22741,
    "preassembled_reads": 32646,
    "preassembled_seed_fragmentation": 1.451,       # total preads / seed reads
    "preassembled_seed_truncation": 4453.782,       # ave bp lost per pread due to low cov
    "preassembled_yield": 0.758,                    # total pread bp / seed read bp
    "raw_bases": 964281429,
    "raw_coverage": 207.261,
    "raw_mean": 10626.042,
    "raw_n50": 14591,
    "raw_p95": 23194,
    "raw_reads": 90747,
    "seed_bases": 461851093,
    "seed_coverage": 99.269,                        
    "seed_mean": 20029.103,
    "seed_n50": 19855,
    "seed_p95": 28307,
    "seed_reads": 23059

A note on these statistics: in the process of created preads, seeds read bases with insufficient raw read coverage (specific by --min_cov in falcon_sense_option) will cause the read to be split or truncated. The preassembled seed fragmentation, truncation, and yield stats summarize the quality of pread assembly. A good preassembled yield should be greater than 50%. Insufficient coverage or low quality data are common reasons for poor preassembled yield.

Why does FALCON have trouble assembling my amplicon data?

FALCON was designed for whole genome shotgun assembly rather than amplicon assembly. In whole genome shotgun assembly we suppress repetitive high copy regions to assemble less repetitive regions first. When you assemble the PCR product of a short region in a genome, FALCON sees the whole thing as a high copy repeat and filters out a significant portion of the data.

You can try to downsample your data and make the daligner block size even smaller ( reduce -s50 in pa_DBsplit_option ) and increase the overlap filter thresholds (--max_diff 100 --max_cov 100 in overlap_filtering_setting) to try to make it work. However, this use case is not really within the scope of the FALCON algorithm.

How do I know where alternate haplotypes align to the primary contig?

Associate contig IDs contain the name of their primary contig but the precise location of alignment must be determined with third party tools such as NUCmer. For example, in a FALCON assembly, 000123F-010-01 is an associated contig to primary contig 000123F. In a FALCON-Unzip assembly, 000123F_001 is a haplotig of primary contig 000123F. The alignment position can be found in a PAF file: 3-unzip/all_h_ctg.paf. The alignment coordinates after polishing is not yet produced but can be generated through alignments.


Thanks to Jason Chin for the original concept and Chris Dunn/Ivan Sovic for their numerous improvements.