For studies using high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data, simulations can be vital for planning sampling design and testing bioinformatic tools. However, most HTS sequencing tools provide only very simple ways of adding deviations from a reference genome. For HTS studies that focus on patterns of genomic variation among individuals, populations, or species, having a tool that can simulate realistic patterns of molecular evolution and generate HTS data from those simulations would be quite useful.

jackalope simply and efficiently simulates (i) variants from reference genomes and (ii) reads from both Illumina and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) platforms. It can either read reference genomes from FASTA files or simulate new ones. Genomic variants can be simulated using summary statistics, phylogenies, Variant Call Format (VCF) files, and coalescent simulations—the latter of which can include selection, recombination, and demographic fluctuations. jackalope can simulate single, paired-end, or mate-pair Illumina reads, as well as reads from Pacific Biosciences These simulations include sequencing errors, mapping qualities, multiplexing, and optical/PCR duplicates. All outputs can be written to standard file formats.