Daniel Danciu, PhD


Biomedical Informatics Group
Schmelzbergstrasse 26
8006 Zürich
SHM 26 B1

Index all DNA

2005-2017 Google, Senior Staff Software Engineer (YouTube)

2017-2019 Daedalean, CTO

2019-    ETH, Biomedical Informatics Lab

Abstract Several recently developed single-cell DNA sequencing technologies enable whole-genome sequencing of thousands of cells. However, the ultra-low coverage of the sequenced data (<0.05× per cell) mostly limits their usage to the identification of copy number alterations in multi-megabase segments. Many tumors are not copy number-driven, and thus single-nucleotide variant (SNV)-based subclone detection may contribute to a more comprehensive view on intra-tumor heterogeneity. Due to the low coverage of the data, the identification of SNVs is only possible when superimposing the sequenced genomes of hundreds of genetically similar cells. Thus, we have developed a new approach to efficiently cluster tumor cells based on a Bayesian filtering approach of relevant loci and exploiting read overlap and phasing.

Authors Hana Rozhoňová, Daniel Danciu, Stefan Stark, Gunnar Rätsch, André Kahles, Kjong-Van Lehmann

Submitted Bioinformatics

Link DOI

Abstract The number of published metagenome assemblies is rapidly growing due to advances in sequencing technologies. However, sequencing errors, variable coverage, repetitive genomic regions, and other factors can produce misassemblies, which are challenging to detect for taxonomically novel genomic data. Assembly errors can affect all downstream analyses of the assemblies. Accuracy for the state of the art in reference-free misassembly prediction does not exceed an AUPRC of 0.57, and it is not clear how well these models generalize to real-world data. Here, we present the Residual neural network for Misassembled Contig identification (ResMiCo), a deep learning approach for reference-free identification of misassembled contigs. To develop ResMiCo, we first generated a training dataset of unprecedented size and complexity that can be used for further benchmarking and developments in the field. Through rigorous validation, we show that ResMiCo is substantially more accurate than the state of the art, and the model is robust to novel taxonomic diversity and varying assembly methods. ResMiCo estimated 4.7% misassembled contigs per metagenome across multiple real-world datasets. We demonstrate how ResMiCo can be used to optimize metagenome assembly hyperparameters to improve accuracy, instead of optimizing solely for contiguity. The accuracy, robustness, and ease-of-use of ResMiCo make the tool suitable for general quality control of metagenome assemblies and assembly methodology optimization.

Authors Olga Mineeva, Daniel Danciu, Bernhard Schölkopf, Ruth E. Ley, Gunnar Rätsch, Nicholas D. Youngblut

Submitted bioRxiv

Link DOI

Abstract Since the amount of published biological sequencing data is growing exponentially, efficient methods for storing and indexing this data are more needed than ever to truly benefit from this invaluable resource for biomedical research. Labeled de Bruijn graphs are a frequently-used approach for representing large sets of sequencing data. While significant progress has been made to succinctly represent the graph itself, efficient methods for storing labels on such graphs are still rapidly evolving. In this paper, we present RowDiff, a new technique for compacting graph labels by leveraging expected similarities in annotations of vertices adjacent in the graph. RowDiff can be constructed in linear time relative to the number of vertices and labels in the graph, and in space proportional to the graph size. In addition, construction can be efficiently parallelized and distributed, making the technique applicable to graphs with trillions of nodes. RowDiff can be viewed as an intermediary sparsification step of the original annotation matrix and can thus naturally be combined with existing generic schemes for compressed binary matrices. Experiments on 10,000 RNA-seq datasets show that RowDiff combined with Multi-BRWT results in a 30% reduction in annotation footprint over Mantis-MST, the previously known most compact annotation representation. Experiments on the sparser Fungi subset of the RefSeq collection show that applying RowDiff sparsification reduces the size of individual annotation columns stored as compressed bit vectors by an average factor of 42. When combining RowDiff with a Multi-BRWT representation, the resulting annotation is 26 times smaller than Mantis-MST.

Authors Daniel Danciu, Mikhail Karasikov, Harun Mustafa, André Kahles, Gunnar Rätsch

Submitted ISMB/ECCB 2021


Abstract The amount of biological sequencing data available in public repositories is growing exponentially, forming an invaluable biomedical research resource. Yet, making all this sequencing data searchable and easily accessible to life science and data science researchers is an unsolved problem. We present MetaGraph, a versatile framework for the scalable analysis of extensive sequence repositories. MetaGraph efficiently indexes vast collections of sequences to enable fast search and comprehensive analysis. A wide range of underlying data structures offer different practically relevant trade-offs between the space taken by the index and its query performance. MetaGraph provides a flexible methodological framework allowing for index construction to be scaled from consumer laptops to distribution onto a cloud compute cluster for processing terabases to petabases of input data. Achieving compression ratios of up to 1,000-fold over the already compressed raw input data, MetaGraph can represent the content of large sequencing archives in the working memory of a single compute server. We demonstrate our framework’s scalability by indexing over 1.4 million whole genome sequencing (WGS) records from NCBI’s Sequence Read Archive, representing a total input of more than three petabases. Besides demonstrating the utility of MetaGraph indexes on key applications, such as experiment discovery, sequence alignment, error correction, and differential assembly, we make a wide range of indexes available as a community resource, including those over 450,000 microbial WGS records, more than 110,000 fungi WGS records, and more than 20,000 whole metagenome sequencing records. A subset of these indexes is made available online for interactive queries. All indexes created from public data comprising in total more than 1 million records are available for download or usage in the cloud. As an example of our indexes’ integrative analysis capabilities, we introduce the concept of differential assembly, which allows for the extraction of sequences present in a foreground set of samples but absent in a given background set. We apply this technique to differentially assemble contigs to identify pathogenic agents transfected via human kidney transplants. In a second example, we indexed more than 20,000 human RNA-Seq records from the TCGA and GTEx cohorts and use them to extract transcriptome features that are hard to characterize using a classical linear reference. We discovered over 200 trans-splicing events in GTEx and found broad evidence for tissue-specific non-A-to-I RNA-editing in GTEx and TCGA.

Authors Mikhail Karasikov, Harun Mustafa, Daniel Danciu, Marc Zimmermann, Christopher Barber, Gunnar Rätsch, André Kahles

Submitted bioRxiv