- A-201 (STCS Seminar Room)
DNA sequencing is the basic workhorse of modern day biology and medicine. Shotgun sequencing is the dominant technique used: many randomly located short fragments called reads are extracted from the DNA sequence, and these reads are assembled to reconstruct the original sequence. A basic question is: given a sequencing technology and the statistics of the DNA sequence, what is the minimum number of reads required for reliable reconstruction? This number provides a fundamental limit to the performance of any assembly algorithm. In this seminar, we will discuss a paper with the above title by David Tse from 2013. For a simple statistical model of the DNA sequence and the read process, We find that the answer admits a critical phenomenon in the asymptotic limit of long DNA sequences: if the read length is below a threshold, reconstruction is impossible no matter how many reads are observed, and if the read length is above the threshold, having enough reads to cover the DNA sequence is sufficient to reconstruct. The threshold is computed in terms of the Renyi entropy rate of the DNA sequence.