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Title: HiFine: integrating Hi-C-based and shotgun-based methods to refine binning of metagenomic contigs
Abstract Motivation

Metagenomic binning aims to retrieve microbial genomes directly from ecosystems by clustering metagenomic contigs assembled from short reads into draft genomic bins. Traditional shotgun-based binning methods depend on the contigs’ composition and abundance profiles and are impaired by the paucity of enough samples to construct reliable co-abundance profiles. When applied to a single sample, shotgun-based binning methods struggle to distinguish closely related species only using composition information. As an alternative binning approach, Hi-C-based binning employs metagenomic Hi-C technique to measure the proximity contacts between metagenomic fragments. However, spurious inter-species Hi-C contacts inevitably generated by incorrect ligations of DNA fragments between species link the contigs from varying genomes, weakening the purity of final draft genomic bins. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a binning pipeline to overcome the shortcomings of both types of binning methods on a single sample.


We develop HiFine, a novel binning pipeline to refine the binning results of metagenomic contigs by integrating both Hi-C-based and shotgun-based binning tools. HiFine designs a strategy of fragmentation for the original bin sets derived from the Hi-C-based and shotgun-based binning methods, which considerably increases the purity of initial bins, followed by merging fragmented bins and recruiting unbinned contigs. We demonstrate that HiFine significantly improves the existing binning results of both types of binning methods and achieves better performance in constructing species genomes on publicly available datasets. To the best of our knowledge, HiFine is the first pipeline to integrate different types of tools for the binning of metagenomic contigs.

Availability and implementation

HiFine is available at

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
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Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2973-2979
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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