Next-generation sequencing for virus detection: Covering all the bases

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BACKGROUND The use of next-generation sequencing has become an established method for virus detection. Efficient study design for accurate detection relies on the optimal amount of data representing a significant portion of a virus genome. FINDINGS In this study, genome coverage at different sequencing depths was determined for a number of viruses, viroids, hosts and sequencing library types, using both read-mapping and de novo assembly-based approaches. The results highlighted the strength of ribo-depleted RNA and sRNA in obtaining saturated genome coverage with the least amount of data, while even though the poly(A)-selected RNA yielded virus-derived reads, it was insufficient to cover the complete genome of a non-polyadenylated virus. The ribo-depleted RNA data also outperformed the sRNA data in terms of the percentage of coverage that could be obtained particularly with the de novo assembled contigs. CONCLUSION Our results suggest the use of ribo-depleted RNA in a de novo assembly-based approach for the detection of single-stranded RNA viruses. Furthermore, we suggest that sequencing one million reads will provide sufficient genome coverage specifically for closterovirus detection.




Visser, M., Bester, R., Burger, J. T., & Maree, H. J. (2016). Next-generation sequencing for virus detection: Covering all the bases. Virology Journal, 13(1).

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