Optimizing SNP microarray probe design for high accuracy microbial genotyping

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Microarrays to characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) provide a cost-effective and rapid method (under 24. h) to genotype microbes as an alternative to sequencing. We developed a pipeline for SNP discovery and microarray design that scales to 100's of microbial genomes. Here we tested various SNP probe design strategies against 8 sequenced isolates of Bacillus anthracis to compare sequence and microarray data. The best strategy allowed probe length to vary within 32-40. bp to equalize hybridization free energy. This strategy resulted in a call rate of 99.52% and concordance rate of 99.86% for finished genomes. Other probe design strategies averaged substantially lower call rates (94.65-96.41%) and slightly lower concordance rates (99.64-99.80%). These rates were lower for draft than finished genomes, consistent with higher incidence of sequencing errors and gaps. Highly accurate SNP calls were possible in complex soil and blood backgrounds down to 1000 copies, and moderately accurate SNP calls down to 100 spiked copies. The closest genome to the spiked strain was correctly identified at only 10 spiked copies. Discrepancies between sequence and array data did not alter the SNP-based phylogeny, regardless of the probe design strategy, indicating that SNP arrays can accurately place unsequenced isolates on a phylogeny. © 2013 The Authors.




Gardner, S. N., Thissen, J. B., McLoughlin, K. S., Slezak, T., & Jaing, C. J. (2013). Optimizing SNP microarray probe design for high accuracy microbial genotyping. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 94(3), 303–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2013.07.006

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