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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Automated SNP detection from a large collection of white spruce expressed sequences: contributing factors and approaches for the categorization of SNPs

Nathalie Pavy1*, Lee S Parsons2, Charles Paule2, John MacKay1 and Jean Bousquet1

Author Affiliations

1 ARBOREA and Canada Research Chair in Forest Genomics, Pavillon Charles-Eugène-Marchand, Université Laval, Ste.Foy, Québec G1K 7P4, Canada

2 Center for Computational Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. S.E., MMC 43, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

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BMC Genomics 2006, 7:174  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-174

Published: 6 July 2006



High-throughput genotyping technologies represent a highly efficient way to accelerate genetic mapping and enable association studies. As a first step toward this goal, we aimed to develop a resource of candidate Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) in white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss), a softwood tree of major economic importance.


A white spruce SNP resource encompassing 12,264 SNPs was constructed from a set of 6,459 contigs derived from Expressed Sequence Tags (EST) and by using the bayesian-based statistical software PolyBayes. Several parameters influencing the SNP prediction were analysed including the a priori expected polymorphism, the probability score (PSNP), and the contig depth and length. SNP detection in 3' and 5' reads from the same clones revealed a level of inconsistency between overlapping sequences as low as 1%. A subset of 245 predicted SNPs were verified through the independent resequencing of genomic DNA of a genotype also used to prepare cDNA libraries. The validation rate reached a maximum of 85% for SNPs predicted with either PSNP ≥ 0.95 or ≥ 0.99. A total of 9,310 SNPs were detected by using PSNP ≥ 0.95 as a criterion. The SNPs were distributed among 3,590 contigs encompassing an array of broad functional categories, with an overall frequency of 1 SNP per 700 nucleotide sites. Experimental and statistical approaches were used to evaluate the proportion of paralogous SNPs, with estimates in the range of 8 to 12%. The 3,789 coding SNPs identified through coding region annotation and ORF prediction, were distributed into 39% nonsynonymous and 61% synonymous substitutions. Overall, there were 0.9 SNP per 1,000 nonsynonymous sites and 5.2 SNPs per 1,000 synonymous sites, for a genome-wide nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rate ratio (Ka/Ks) of 0.17.


We integrated the SNP data in the ForestTreeDB database along with functional annotations to provide a tool facilitating the choice of candidate genes for mapping purposes or association studies.