27 October 2009
A recent paper published in Science has now proposed more detailed standards and classification of sequence data for researchers who generate and/or use this data [Chain et al. (2009) Science 326: 236-7]. The new standards have been compiled by an international team of researchers and classify genomes into six categories ranging from Standard to Finished. The Standard draft is the minimum standard for submission to the public databases and comprises unfiltered or minimally filtered data. Although these sequences are of poor quality and may be incomplete they still possess useful information. Finished refers to the current gold standard as described above and can act as high quality reference genomes for comparative purposes. Intermediate categories include high-quality draft, improved high-quality draft, annotation-directed improvement and non-contiguous finished.
The authors have tried to develop standards that apply to all types of whole genome sequencing projects independent of technology used. They have also avoided rigid numerical thresholds in order to take into account products achieved by combination of technology and/or finishing processes.