For most organisms, even if their genome sequence is available, little functional information about individual genes or proteins exists. Several annotation pipelines have been developed for functional analysis based on sequence, ‘omics’, and literature data. However, researchers encounter little guidance on how well they perform. Here, we used the recently sequenced potato genome as a case study. The potato genome was selected since its genome is newly sequenced and it is a non-model plant even if there is relatively ample information on individual potato genes, and multiple gene expression profiles are available.
We show that the automatic gene annotations of potato have low accuracy when compared to a “gold standard” based on experimentally validated potato genes. Furthermore, we evaluate six state-of-the-art annotation pipelines and show that their predictions are markedly dissimilar (Jaccard similarity coefficient of 0.27 between pipelines on average). To overcome this discrepancy, we introduce a simple GO structure-based algorithm that reconciles the predictions of the different pipelines. We show that the integrated annotation covers more genes, increases by over 50% the number of highly co-expressed GO processes, and obtains much higher agreement with the gold standard.
We find that different annotation pipelines produce different results, and show how to integrate them into a unified annotation that is of higher quality than each single pipeline. We offer an improved functional annotation of both PGSC and ITAG potato gene models, as well as tools that can be applied to additional pipelines and improve annotation in other organisms. This will greatly aid future functional analysis of ‘-omics’ datasets from potato and other organisms with newly sequenced genomes. The new potato annotations are available with this paper.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0329-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.