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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Population-based rare variant detection via pooled exome or custom hybridization capture with or without individual indexing

Enrique Ramos1, Benjamin T Levinson1, Sara Chasnoff1, Andrew Hughes1, Andrew L Young1, Katherine Thornton1, Allie Li2, Francesco LM Vallania1, Michael Province1 and Todd E Druley134*

Author affiliations

1 Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA

3 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO, 63108, USA

4 Present address: Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, 4444 Forest Park Avenue, Box 8510, St. Louis, MO, 63108, U.S.A

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2012, 13:683  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-683

Published: 6 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Rare genetic variation in the human population is a major source of pathophysiological variability and has been implicated in a host of complex phenotypes and diseases. Finding disease-related genes harboring disparate functional rare variants requires sequencing of many individuals across many genomic regions and comparing against unaffected cohorts. However, despite persistent declines in sequencing costs, population-based rare variant detection across large genomic target regions remains cost prohibitive for most investigators. In addition, DNA samples are often precious and hybridization methods typically require large amounts of input DNA. Pooled sample DNA sequencing is a cost and time-efficient strategy for surveying populations of individuals for rare variants. We set out to 1) create a scalable, multiplexing method for custom capture with or without individual DNA indexing that was amenable to low amounts of input DNA and 2) expand the functionality of the SPLINTER algorithm for calling substitutions, insertions and deletions across either candidate genes or the entire exome by integrating the variant calling algorithm with the dynamic programming aligner, Novoalign.

Results

We report methodology for pooled hybridization capture with pre-enrichment, indexed multiplexing of up to 48 individuals or non-indexed pooled sequencing of up to 92 individuals with as little as 70 ng of DNA per person. Modified solid phase reversible immobilization bead purification strategies enable no sample transfers from sonication in 96-well plates through adapter ligation, resulting in 50% less library preparation reagent consumption. Custom Y-shaped adapters containing novel 7 base pair index sequences with a Hamming distance of ≥2 were directly ligated onto fragmented source DNA eliminating the need for PCR to incorporate indexes, and was followed by a custom blocking strategy using a single oligonucleotide regardless of index sequence. These results were obtained aligning raw reads against the entire genome using Novoalign followed by variant calling of non-indexed pools using SPLINTER or SAMtools for indexed samples. With these pipelines, we find sensitivity and specificity of 99.4% and 99.7% for pooled exome sequencing. Sensitivity, and to a lesser degree specificity, proved to be a function of coverage. For rare variants (≤2% minor allele frequency), we achieved sensitivity and specificity of ≥94.9% and ≥99.99% for custom capture of 2.5 Mb in multiplexed libraries of 22–48 individuals with only ≥5-fold coverage/chromosome, but these parameters improved to ≥98.7 and 100% with 20-fold coverage/chromosome.

Conclusions

This highly scalable methodology enables accurate rare variant detection, with or without individual DNA sample indexing, while reducing the amount of required source DNA and total costs through less hybridization reagent consumption, multi-sample sonication in a standard PCR plate, multiplexed pre-enrichment pooling with a single hybridization and lesser sequencing coverage required to obtain high sensitivity.

Keywords:
Rare variants; Genomics; Exome; Hybridization capture; Multiplexed capture; Indexed capture; SPLINTER