A critical comparison of technologies for a plant genome sequencing project.

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A high quality genome sequence of any model organism is an essential starting point for genetic and other studies. Older clone based methods are slow and expensive, whereas faster, cheaper short read only assemblies can be incomplete and highly fragmented, which minimises their usefulness. The last few years have seen the introduction of many new technologies for genome assembly. These new technologies and associated new algorithms are typically benchmarked on microbial genomes or, if they scale appropriately, on larger (e.g. human) genomes. However, plant genomes can be much more repetitive and larger than the human genome, and plant biochemistry often makes obtaining high quality DNA free from contaminants difficult. Reflecting their challenging nature we observe that plant genome assembly statistics are typically poorer than for vertebrates.