Unmapped next-generation sequencing reads are typically ignored while they contain biologically relevant information. We systematically analyzed unmapped reads from whole genome sequencing of 33 inbred rat strains. High quality reads were selected and enriched for biologically relevant sequences; similarity-based analysis revealed clustering similar to previously reported phylogenetic trees. Our results demonstrate that on average 20% of all unmapped reads harbor sequences that can be used to improve reference genomes and generate hypotheses on potential genotype-phenotype relationships. Analysis pipelines would benefit from incorporating the described methods and reference genomes would benefit from inclusion of the genomic segments obtained through these efforts.
Van Der Weide, R. H., Simonis, M., Hermsen, R., Toonen, P., Cuppen, E., & De Ligt, J. (2016). The genomic scrapheap challenge; extracting relevant data from unmapped whole genome sequencing reads, including strain specific genomic segments, in rats. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0160036