Saturday, February 26, 2011

Calculating N50 and L50 of a contig assembly file

N50 is most often used in draft genome assembly - can be defined as the largest entity E such that at least half of the total size of the entities is contained in entities larger than E. For example if we have a collection of contigs with sizes 7, 4, 3, 2, 2, 1, and 1 kb (total size = 20kbp), the N50 length is 4 because we can cover 10 kb with contigs bigger than 4kb.

L50 is the number of scaffolds that accounts for more than 50% of the genome assembly.

Here is a small step by step protocol to calculate N50:

1. Read Fasta file and calculate sequence length.
2. Sort length on reverse order.
3. Calculate Total size.
4. Calculate N50.

## Read Fasta File and compute length ###
my $length;
my $totalLength;
my @arr;
   push (@arr, $length);
   $totalLength += $length;
  $length += length($_);


my @sort = sort {$b <=> $a} @arr;
my $n50;
my $L50;
foreach my $val(@sort){
      if($n50 >= $totalLength/2){
         print "N50 length is $n50 and N50 value is: $val and L50 is $L50\n";
If each sequence length is given in fasta header then one can grep '>' inputfile > out and do proper substitution
to get only the values(see vim editor section of the blog).
Then do a
$ sort -g -r inputfile > out
$ awk '{sum+=$1}END{print "Total:", sum} out  # To calculate total
$ Total : Number

# Then use second part of the perl subroutine to get the N50 value



Johan Bengtsson said...

Excellent post, nice code! Thanks a lot!

Sucheta said...

Thanks, I am glad that you liked the post.