DIDA: Distributed Indexing Dispatched Alignment

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Mohamadi H, Vandervalk BP, Raymond A, Jackman SD, Chu J, Breshears CP, et al. (2015) DIDA: Distributed Indexing Dispatched Alignment. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0126409. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126409

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Sequence alignment
Multiple alignment calculation
Genome analysis
Caenorhabditis elegans
Human genomics
Sequence assembly tools

One essential application in bioinformatics that is affected by the high-throughput sequencing data deluge is the sequence alignment problem, where nucleotide or amino acid sequences are queried against targets to find regions of close similarity. When queries are too many and/or targets are too large, the alignment process becomes computationally challenging. This is usually addressed by preprocessing techniques, where the queries and/or targets are indexed for easy access while searching for matches. When the target is static, such as in an established reference genome, the cost of indexing is amortized by reusing the generated index. However, when the targets are non-static, such as contigs in the intermediate steps of a de novo assembly process, a new index must be computed for each run. To address such scalability problems, we present DIDA, a novel framework that distributes the indexing and alignment tasks into smaller subtasks over a cluster of compute nodes. It provides a workflow beyond the common practice of embarrassingly parallel implementations. DIDA is a cost-effective, scalable and modular framework for the sequence alignment problem in terms of memory usage and runtime. It can be employed in large-scale alignments to draft genomes and intermediate stages of de novo assembly runs. The DIDA source code, sample files and user manual are available through http://www.bcgsc.ca/platform/bioinfo/software/dida. The software is released under the British Columbia Cancer Agency License (BCCA), and is free for academic use.

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British Columbia Cancer Foundation
Genome British Columbia
Genome Canada
Health and Life Sciences Group at Intel Corporation
National Institutes of Health (NIH)