A dual transcript-discovery approach to improve the delimitation of gene features from RNA-seq data in the chicken model

Mickael Orgeur, Marvin Martens, Stefan T. Boerno, Bernd Timmermann, Delphine Duprez*, Sigmar Stricker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The sequence of the chicken genome, like several other draft genome sequences, is presently not fully covered. Gaps, contigs assigned with low confidence and uncharacterized chromosomes result in gene fragmentation and imprecise gene annotation. Transcript abundance estimation from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data relies on read quality, library complexity and expression normalization. In addition, the quality of the genome sequence used to map sequencing reads, and the gene annotation that defines gene features, must also be taken into account. A partially covered genome sequence causes the loss of sequencing reads from the mapping step, while an inaccurate definition of gene features induces imprecise read counts from the assignment step. Both steps can significantly bias interpretation of RNA-seq data. Here, we describe a dual transcript-discovery approach combining a genome-guided gene prediction and a de novo transcriptome assembly. This dual approach enabled us to increase the assignment rate of RNA-seq data by nearly 20% as compared to when using only the chicken reference annotation, contributing therefore to a more accurate estimation of transcript abundance. More generally, this strategy could be applied to any organism with partial genome sequence and/or lacking a manually-curated reference annotation in order to improve the accuracy of gene expression studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number028498
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBiology Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Chicken genome annotation
  • Gallus gallus
  • Gene prediction
  • Genome-guided transcript discovery
  • RNA sequencing
  • Transcriptome reconstruction

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