NCBI at ASHG 2019: Two Data CoLabs Demonstrate How to Analyze NextGen Sequence Data and Access Genetic Variation Population Data


NCBI will be attending the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2019 in Houston Texas on Oct 15-19.

This year, we will be presenting two CoLabs – interactive sessions where you can learn about new NCBI tools and resources. Read on below for a description of each CoLab and join us at ASHG next week!

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Magic-BLAST version 1.5.0 is here!


We’ve just released a new version of Magic-BLAST with several new, user-driven enhancements like:

  • Nanopore sequence alignment
  • Improved multithreading performance
  • Support for the new BLAST database version, BLASTDBv5, that allows you to limit your search by taxonomy
  • More reliable placements of reads

The new executables are available on the NCBI FTP site.

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A new paper (PMID: 31345161), published in July 2019 by BMC Bioinformatics, presents the usage accuracy of Magic-BLAST.

Magic-BLAST aligns next generation DNA- and RNA-Seq sequencing reads. Read more about the latest version of Magic-BLAST in the release notes.

Magic-BLAST (v1.4.0), an accurate DNA and RNA-Seq aligner


What is Magic-BLAST and why are we excited about it?

Magic-BLAST is a BLAST tool, but it’s unlike any other.

It aligns next generation sequencing reads, both DNA and RNA-seq.  It implements the aligner algorithm from MAGIC [1], a trusted pipeline, but uses the well tested and supported BLAST infrastructure. We think it’s like putting two great things together, like having your favorite ice cream in your morning coffee.

We’re so excited about it that we even wrote an article that compares Magic-BLAST to a few other aligners on several data sets.

If you look at the figures in our article, we think you’ll see that Magic-BLAST excels at finding introns and processing ultra-long sequences. It also can handle high levels of mismatches as well compositionally biased DNA.  Finally, you’ll see that Magic-BLAST works in a lot of relevant situations in which current aligners won’t. If our results got your attention, here is our documentation, which includes a cookbook with a few examples.

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5 NCBI articles in 2018 Nucleic Acids Research database issue


The 2018 Nucleic Acids Research database issue features several papers from NCBI staff that cover the status and future of databases including CCDS, ClinVar, GenBank and RefSeq. These papers are also available on PubMed. To read an article, click on the PMID number listed below.

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Magic-BLAST 1.3.0 released with new features and improvements


The newest version of Magic-BLAST (v. 1.3.0) offers improved sensitivity and faster run-times as well as a number of other new features and improvements. These include the ability to set the alignment cut-off score as a function of read length, a maximum edit distance option and optional local cacheing for SRA files. For more information on these and other improvements, see the release notes. You can download the new executables from the NCBI FTP site.

Magic-BLAST is a tool for mapping large next-generation RNA or DNA sequencing runs against a whole genome or transcriptome. Read more here.

Introducing Magic-BLAST


Magic-BLAST is a new tool for mapping large sets of next-generation RNA or DNA sequencing runs against a whole genome or transcriptome. Magic-BLAST executables for LINUX, MacOSX, and Windows as well as the source files are available on the FTP site.

Each alignment optimizes a composite score, taking into account simultaneously the two reads of a pair, and in case of RNA-Seq, locating the candidate introns and adding up the score of all exons. Sequencing reads can be provided as NCBI SRA accessions, FASTA or SRA files.

Magic-BLAST implements ideas developed in the NCBI Magic pipeline using the NCBI BLAST libraries. Magic-BLAST is under active development, and we expect the next few releases to occur on a monthly basis. Read more about Magic BLAST on the FTP site.