Pan-conserved segment tags identify ultra-conserved sequences across assemblies in the human pangenome


  • H. Lee
  • S.U. Greer
  • D.S. Pavlichin
  • B. Zhou
  • A.E. Urban
  • T. Weissman
  • H.P. Ji


  • Cell Reports Methods


  • Cell Rep Methods 3 (8): 100543


  • The human pangenome, a new reference sequence, addresses many limitations of the current GRCh38 reference. The first release is based on 94 high-quality haploid assemblies from individuals with diverse backgrounds. We employed a k-mer indexing strategy for comparative analysis across multiple assemblies, including the pangenome reference, GRCh38, and CHM13, a telomere-to-telomere reference assembly. Our k-mer indexing approach enabled us to identify a valuable collection of universally conserved sequences across all assemblies, referred to as “pan-conserved segment tags” (PSTs). By examining intervals between these segments, we discerned highly conserved genomic segments and those with structurally related polymorphisms. We found 60,764 polymorphic intervals with unique geo-ethnic features in the pangenome reference. In this study, we utilized ultra-conserved sequences (PSTs) to forge a link between human pangenome assemblies and reference genomes. This methodology enables the examination of any sequence of interest within the pangenome, using the reference genome as a comparative framework.