BACKGROUND: Structural variations (SVs), such as insertions, deletions, inversions, and duplications, are a common feature in human genomes, and a number of studies have reported that such SVs are associated with human diseases. Although the progress of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has led to the discovery of a large number of SVs, accurate and genome-wide detection of SVs remains challenging. Thus far, various calling algorithms based on NGS data have been proposed. However, their strategies are diverse and there is no tool able to detect a full range of SVs accurately.
RESULTS: We focused on evaluating the performance of existing deletion calling algorithms for various spanning ranges from low- to high-coverage simulation data. The simulation data was generated from a whole genome sequence with artificial SVs constructed based on the distribution of variants obtained from the 1000 Genomes Project. From the simulation analysis, deletion calls of various deletion sizes were obtained with each caller, and it was found that the performance was quite different according to the type of algorithms and targeting deletion size. Based on these results, we propose an integrated structural variant calling pipeline (iSVP) that combines existing methods with a newly devised filtering and merging processes. It achieved highly accurate deletion calling with >90% precision and >90% recall on the 30× read data for a broad range of size. We applied iSVP to the whole-genome sequence data of a CEU HapMap sample, and detected a large number of deletions, including notable peaks around 300 bp and 6,000 bp, which corresponded to Alus and long interspersed nuclear elements, respectively. In addition, many of the predicted deletions were highly consistent with experimentally validated ones by other studies.
CONCLUSIONS: We present iSVP, a new deletion calling pipeline to obtain a genome-wide landscape of deletions in a highly accurate manner. From simulation and real data analysis, we show that iSVP is broadly applicable to human whole-genome sequencing data, which will elucidate relationships between SVs across genomes and associated diseases or biological functions.
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