INDELseek: Detection of complex insertions and deletions from next-generation sequencing data

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Background: Complex insertions and deletions (indels) from next-generation sequencing (NGS) data were prone to escape detection by currently available variant callers as shown by large-scale human genomics studies. Somatic and germline complex indels in key disease driver genes could be missed in NGS-based genomics studies. Results: INDELseek is an open-source complex indel caller designed for NGS data of random fragments and PCR amplicons. The key differentiating factor of INDELseek is that each NGS read alignment was examined as a whole instead of "pileup" of each reference position across multiple alignments. In benchmarking against the reference material NA12878 genome (n = 160 derived from high-confidence variant calls), GATK, SAMtools and INDELseek showed complex indel detection sensitivities of 0%, 0% and 100%, respectively. INDELseek also detected all known germline (BRCA1 and BRCA2) and somatic (CALR and JAK2) complex indels in human clinical samples (n = 8). Further experiments validated all 10 detected KIT complex indels in a discovery cohort of clinical samples. In silico semi-simulation showed sensitivities of 93.7-96.2% based on 8671 unique complex indels in >5000 genes from dbSNP and COSMIC. We also demonstrated the importance of complex indel detection in accurately annotating BRCA1, BRCA2 and TP53 mutations with gained or rescued protein-truncating effects. Conclusions: INDELseek is an accurate and versatile tool for complex indel detection in NGS data. It complements other variant callers in NGS-based genomics studies targeting a wide spectrum of genetic variations.




Au, C. H., Leung, A. Y. H., Kwong, A., Chan, T. L., & Ma, E. S. K. (2017). INDELseek: Detection of complex insertions and deletions from next-generation sequencing data. BMC Genomics, 18(1).

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