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CNV Workshop: an integrated platform for high-throughput copy number variation discovery and clinical diagnostics

Xiaowu Gai1, Juan C Perin1, Kevin Murphy2, Ryan O'Hara1, Monica D'arcy1, Adam Wenocur1, Hongbo M Xie1, Eric F Rappaport34, Tamim H Shaikh45 and Peter S White12*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Biomedical Informatics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

2 Division of Oncology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

3 Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

4 Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

5 Division of Genetics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:74  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-74

Published: 4 February 2010



Recent studies have shown that copy number variations (CNVs) are frequent in higher eukaryotes and associated with a substantial portion of inherited and acquired risk for various human diseases. The increasing availability of high-resolution genome surveillance platforms provides opportunity for rapidly assessing research and clinical samples for CNV content, as well as for determining the potential pathogenicity of identified variants. However, few informatics tools for accurate and efficient CNV detection and assessment currently exist.


We developed a suite of software tools and resources (CNV Workshop) for automated, genome-wide CNV detection from a variety of SNP array platforms. CNV Workshop includes three major components: detection, annotation, and presentation of structural variants from genome array data. CNV detection utilizes a robust and genotype-specific extension of the Circular Binary Segmentation algorithm, and the use of additional detection algorithms is supported. Predicted CNVs are captured in a MySQL database that supports cohort-based projects and incorporates a secure user authentication layer and user/admin roles. To assist with determination of pathogenicity, detected CNVs are also annotated automatically for gene content, known disease loci, and gene-based literature references. Results are easily queried, sorted, filtered, and visualized via a web-based presentation layer that includes a GBrowse-based graphical representation of CNV content and relevant public data, integration with the UCSC Genome Browser, and tabular displays of genomic attributes for each CNV.


To our knowledge, CNV Workshop represents the first cohesive and convenient platform for detection, annotation, and assessment of the biological and clinical significance of structural variants. CNV Workshop has been successfully utilized for assessment of genomic variation in healthy individuals and disease cohorts and is an ideal platform for coordinating multiple associated projects.

Availability and Implementation

Available on the web at: webcite