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Allele-specific copy-number discovery from whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing.

Abstract

Copy-number variants (CNVs) are a major form of genetic variation and a risk factor for various human diseases, so it is crucial to accurately detect and characterize them. It is conceivable that allele-specific reads from high-throughput sequencing data could be leveraged to both enhance CNV detection and produce allele-specific copy number (ASCN) calls. Although statistical methods have been developed to detect CNVs using whole-genome sequence (WGS) and/or whole-exome sequence (WES) data, information from allele-specific read counts has not yet been adequately exploited. In this paper, we develop an integrated method, called AS-GENSENG, which incorporates allele-specific read counts in CNV detection and estimates ASCN using either WGS or WES data. To evaluate the performance of AS-GENSENG, we conducted extensive simulations, generated empirical data using existing WGS and WES data sets and validated predicted CNVs using an independent methodology. We conclude that AS-GENSENG not only predicts accurate ASCN calls but also improves the accuracy of total copy number calls, owing to its unique ability to exploit information from both total and allele-specific read counts while accounting for various experimental biases in sequence data. Our novel, user-friendly and computationally efficient method and a complete analytic protocol is freely available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/asgenseng/.

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