BLEND: A Fast, Memory-Efficient, and Accurate Mechanism to Find Fuzzy Seed Matches
BLEND is a mechanism that can efficiently find fuzzy seed matches between sequences to significantly improve the performance and accuracy while reducing the memory space usage of two important applications: 1) finding overlapping reads and 2) read mapping. Finding fuzzy seed matches enable BLEND to find both 1) exact-matching seeds and 2) highly similar seeds. We integrate the BLEND mechanism into Minimap2. We make the following changes in the original Minimap2 implementation:
- We enable the Minimap2 implementation so that it can find fuzzy seed matches using the BLEND mechanism as the original implementation can only find the exact-matching seeds between sequences. To this end, we change the sketch.c implementation of Minimap2 so that 1) we can generate the seeds that BLEND finds and 2) generate the hash values for seeds to find fuzzy seed matches.
- We enable the Minimap2 implementation to use seeds longer than 256 bases so that it can store longer seeds when using BLEND by combining the minimizer k-mer with many neighbor k-mers (e.g., hundreds), if necessary. The current implementation of Minimap2 allocates 8-bits to store seed lengths up to 256 characters. We change this requirement in various places of the implementation (e.g., line 112 in sketch.c and line 239 in index.c) so that BLEND can use 14 bits to store seed lengths up to 16384 characters. We do this because BLEND merges many k-mers into a single seed, which may be much larger than a 256 character-long sequence.
- We disable filtering out the minimizer k-mers (i.e., seeds in BLEND's case) based on their number of maximum occurence. We do this because BLEND enables generating the same hash value for similar seeds, which may lead to many hash values above the maximum threshold. We do not oppose enabling this filtering mechanism, but it requires further investigation on how to set this threshold value for different parameter settings in BLEND. Thus, filtering out the seeds that occur more than X times is a future work for BLEND so that we can define the value
Xwithout reducing the accuracy of BLEND.
Cloning the source code
- Download the code from its GitHub repository:
git clone https://github.com/CMU-SAFARI/BLEND.git blend
- Alternatively, if you would like to compile the SIMD-compatible version of BLEND, you can clone BLEND with its simde submodule:
git clone --recurse-submodules https://github.com/CMU-SAFARI/BLEND.git blend
Compiling from the source code
Compilation process is similar to Minimap2's compilation as also explained in more detail here. We keep the support for using the SIMD instructions that Minimap2 implements.
Before compiling BLEND:
- Make sure you have a C compiler and GNU make,
cd blend && make
To compile the SIMD-compatible version:
cd blend && make simd
If the compilation is successful, the binary called
blend will be located under
You can print the help message to learn how to use
Below we show how to use blend for 1) finding overlapping reads and 2) read mapping when using the default preset parameters for each use application and genome.
BLEND provides the preset parameters depending on:
- The application: 1) Finding overlapping reads and 2) read mapping.
- Sequencing Technology: 1) Accurate long reads (e.g., PacBio HiFi reads), 2) erroneous long reads (e.g., PacBio CLR reads), and 2) short reads (i.e., Illumina paired-end reads).
- Genome: 1) Human, 2) eukaryotic, and 3) bacterial genomes.
Finding Overlapping Reads
Assume that you would like to perform
all-vs-all overlapping between all pairs of HiFi reads from a human genome located in file
reads.fastq. To find overlapping reads and store them in the PAF file
blend -x ava-hifi --genome human reads.fastq reads.fastq > output.paf
Assume that you would like to map PacBio CLR reads in file
reads.fastq to a reference genome in file
ref.fasta. To generate the read mapping with the CIGAR output in the SAM file
blend -ax map-pb ref.fasta reads.fastq > output.sam
Since we integrate the BLEND mechanism into Minimap2, most portion of the parameters are the same as explained in the man page of Minimap2 or as explained in the public page of minimap2.1, which is subject to change as the new versions of Minamp2 role out. We explain the parameters unique to the BLEND implementation below.
The following option (i.e.,
neighbors) defines the number of consecutive k-mers that BLEND uses to generate a seed. Thus, if the k-mer length is
k, the seed length is
neighbors + k - 1. Default value is 10.
--neighbors INT Combines INT amount of k-mers to generate a seed. 
The following option (i.e.,
fixed-bits) defines the number of bits that BLEND uses for a hash value of a seed. By default, it uses 2 bits per character of a k-mer and, thus, 2*k bits for a hash value of a seed. This value can be decreased to increase the collision rate for assigning the same hash values for similar seeds, but also may start assigning the same hash value for slightly dissimilar seeds.
--fixed-bits INT BLEND uses INT number of bits when generating hash values of seeds rather than using 2*k number of bits. Useful when collision rate needs to be decreased than 2*k bits. Setting this option to 0 uses 2*k bits for hash values. .
BLEND also provides preset options. Some of these preset options also depend on the genome type as shown below:
-x map-ont (-k15 -w10 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=3) -x ava-ont (-k15 -w20 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=3 -e0 -m100 -r2k) -x map-pb (-Hk15 -w20 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=3) -x ava-pb (-Hk19 -Xw20 --fixed-bits=32 --neighbors=3 -e0 -m100) -x map-hifi --genome human (-k15 -w500 --fixed-bits=38 --neighbors=100 -U50,500 -g10k -A1 -B4 -O6,26 -E2,1 -s200) -x map-hifi --genome eukaryote (-k15 -w500 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=5 -U50,500 -g10k -A1 -B4 -O6,26 -E2,1 -s200) -x map-hifi --genome bacteria (-k15 -w500 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=3 -U50,500 -g10k -A1 -B4 -O6,26 -E2,1 -s200) -x ava-hifi --genome human (-k15 -Xw500 --fixed-bits=38 --neighbors=10 -e0 -m100) -x ava-hifi --genome eukaryote (-k15 -Xw500 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=10 -e0 -m100) -x ava-hifi --genome bacteria (-k15 -Xw500 --fixed-bits=30 --neighbors=5 -e0 -m100)
Replicating the results in the paper
We explain how to replicate the results we produce in the BLEND paper in the test directory.