Gene detection

Comparisons between SRST2, ARIBA, and KmerResistance

SRST21, ARIBA2, and KmerResistance (web service, code)3 are three widely used pieces of standalone software for read-based detection of target genes in bacterial genomes. Published in 2014, SRST2 is recognised as the pioneer amongst these three tools2, 3. In this post, I compare methodologies underlying these tools in a concise manner to shed light on the selection of appropriate software for gene detection. Particularly, I herein presume that detecting antimicrobial resistance determinants is the only use case. Whenever unspecified, software versions referred to in this post are: SRST2 v0.2.0, ARIBA 2.14.4, and KmerResistance v2.2.

Popular reference databases of antimicrobial resistance genes

Reliable and up-to-date databases play a pivotal role in reference-based detection of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in bacteria. Nonetheless, these databases differ in their content and quality, making it challenging to decide an appropriate reference database for a particular research project. In order to address this challenge, this post offers a review of several ARG databases that are publicly available and widely used in bacterial genomics. Particularly, I focus on databases that are still undergoing regular maintenance, and I do not discuss any program released with these databases for sequence search or statistical analysis.

Understanding SRST2 outputs

SRST2 is a widely used tool screening Illumina reads of bacterial genomes for known genes (that is, targeted gene detection). Its capability includes MLST profiling and detection of known antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), virulence genes, plasmids, etc. I have been using SRST2 throughout my PhD project and coded my package GeneMates on the grounds of SRST2’s outputs. Here, I explain the output formats of SRST2 in order to help users to gain a better understanding of this versatile tool. Comments and corrections from readers are welcomed since this post is based on my own understandings and experience.