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1.  1.0 USING FAMILY DATA AS A STANDARD TO EVALUATE COPY NUMBER VARIATION CALLING STRATEGIES FOR GENETIC ASSOCIATION STUDIES 
Genetic epidemiology  2012;36(3):253-262.
1.1 ABSTRACT
A major concern for all copy number variation (CNV) detection algorithms is their reliability and repeatability. However, it is difficult to evaluate the reliability of CNV calling strategies due to the lack of gold standard data that would tell us which CNVs are real. We propose that if CNVs are called in duplicate samples, or inherited from parent to child, then these can be considered validated CNVs. We used two large family-based Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) datasets from the GENEVA consortium to look at concordance rates of CNV calls between duplicate samples, parent-child pairs, and unrelated pairs. Our goal was to make recommendations for ways to filter and use CNV calls in GWAS datasets that do not include family data. We used PennCNV as our primary CNV-calling algorithm, and tested CNV calls using different datasets and marker sets, and with various filters on CNVs and samples. Using the Illumina core HumanHap550 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) set, we saw duplicate concordance rates of approximately 55% and parent-child transmission rates of approximately 28% in our datasets. GC model adjustment and sample quality filtering had little effect on these reliability measures. Stratification on CNV size and DNA sample type did have some effect. Overall, our results show that it is probably not possible to find a CNV calling strategy (including filtering and algorithm) that will give us a set of “reliable” CNV calls using current chip technologies. But if we understand the error process, we can still use CNV calls appropriately in genetic association studies.
doi:10.1002/gepi.21618
PMCID: PMC3696390  PMID: 22714937
evaluation; CNV calling strategies; family-based GWAS
2.  Copy Number Variation in Thai Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104355.
Copy number variation (CNV) is a major genetic polymorphism contributing to genetic diversity and human evolution. Clinical application of CNVs for diagnostic purposes largely depends on sufficient population CNV data for accurate interpretation. CNVs from general population in currently available databases help classify CNVs of uncertain clinical significance, and benign CNVs. Earlier studies of CNV distribution in several populations worldwide showed that a significant fraction of CNVs are population specific. In this study, we characterized and analyzed CNVs in 3,017 unrelated Thai individuals genotyped with the Illumina Human610, Illumina HumanOmniexpress, or Illumina HapMap550v3 platform. We employed hidden Markov model and circular binary segmentation methods to identify CNVs, extracted 23,458 CNVs consistently identified by both algorithms, and cataloged these high confident CNVs into our publicly available Thai CNV database. Analysis of CNVs in the Thai population identified a median of eight autosomal CNVs per individual. Most CNVs (96.73%) did not overlap with any known chromosomal imbalance syndromes documented in the DECIPHER database. When compared with CNVs in the 11 HapMap3 populations, CNVs found in the Thai population shared several characteristics with CNVs characterized in HapMap3. Common CNVs in Thais had similar frequencies to those in the HapMap3 populations, and all high frequency CNVs (>20%) found in Thai individuals could also be identified in HapMap3. The majorities of CNVs discovered in the Thai population, however, were of low frequency, or uniquely identified in Thais. When performing hierarchical clustering using CNV frequencies, the CNV data were clustered into Africans, Europeans, and Asians, in line with the clustering performed with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. As CNV data are specific to origin of population, our population-specific reference database will serve as a valuable addition to the existing resources for the investigation of clinical significance of CNVs in Thais and related ethnicities.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104355
PMCID: PMC4131886  PMID: 25118596
3.  The Effect of Algorithms on Copy Number Variant Detection 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14456.
Background
The detection of copy number variants (CNVs) and the results of CNV-disease association studies rely on how CNVs are defined, and because array-based technologies can only infer CNVs, CNV-calling algorithms can produce vastly different findings. Several authors have noted the large-scale variability between CNV-detection methods, as well as the substantial false positive and false negative rates associated with those methods. In this study, we use variations of four common algorithms for CNV detection (PennCNV, QuantiSNP, HMMSeg, and cnvPartition) and two definitions of overlap (any overlap and an overlap of at least 40% of the smaller CNV) to illustrate the effects of varying algorithms and definitions of overlap on CNV discovery.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We used a 56 K Illumina genotyping array enriched for CNV regions to generate hybridization intensities and allele frequencies for 48 Caucasian schizophrenia cases and 48 age-, ethnicity-, and gender-matched control subjects. No algorithm found a difference in CNV burden between the two groups. However, the total number of CNVs called ranged from 102 to 3,765 across algorithms. The mean CNV size ranged from 46 kb to 787 kb, and the average number of CNVs per subject ranged from 1 to 39. The number of novel CNVs not previously reported in normal subjects ranged from 0 to 212.
Conclusions and Significance
Motivated by the availability of multiple publicly available genome-wide SNP arrays, investigators are conducting numerous analyses to identify putative additional CNVs in complex genetic disorders. However, the number of CNVs identified in array-based studies, and whether these CNVs are novel or valid, will depend on the algorithm(s) used. Thus, given the variety of methods used, there will be many false positives and false negatives. Both guidelines for the identification of CNVs inferred from high-density arrays and the establishment of a gold standard for validation of CNVs are needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014456
PMCID: PMC3012691  PMID: 21209939
4.  Inheritance Model Introduces Differential Bias in CNV Calls between Parents and Offspring 
Genetic epidemiology  2012;36(5):488-498.
Copy Number Variation (CNV) is increasingly implicated in disease pathogenesis. CNVs are often identified by statistical models applied to data from single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panels. Family information for samples provides additional information for CNV inference. Two modes of PennCNV (the Joint-call and Posterior-call), which are some of the most well-developed family-based CNV calling methods, use a “Joint-model” as a main component. This models all family members’ CNV states together with Mendelian inheritance. Methods based on the Joint-model are used to infer CNV calls of cases and controls in a pedigree, which may be compared to each other to test an association. Although benefits from the Joint-model have been shown elsewhere, equality of call rates in parents and offspring has not been evaluated previously. This can affect downstream analyses in studies that compare CNV rates in cases versus controls in pedigrees. In this paper, we show that the Joint-model can introduce different CNV call rates among family members in the absence of a true difference. First, we show that the Joint-model may analytically introduce differential CNV calls because of asymmetry of the model. We demonstrate these differential call rates using single-marker simulations. We show that call rates using the two modes of PennCNV also differ between parents-offspring in one multi-marker simulated dataset and two real datasets. Our results advise need for caution in use of the Joint-model calls in CNV association studies with family-based datasets.
doi:10.1002/gepi.21643
PMCID: PMC3678551  PMID: 22628073
Schizophrenia; Calling Algorithm; Family-Based Study; CNV burden
5.  Copy number variation genotyping using family information 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14:157.
Background
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role of copy number variations (CNV) in genetic diseases. Though there has been rapid development of technologies and statistical methods devoted to detection in CNVs from array data, the inherent challenges in data quality associated with most hybridization techniques remains a challenging problem in CNV association studies.
Results
To help address these data quality issues in the context of family-based association studies, we introduce a statistical framework for the intensity-based array data that takes into account the family information for copy-number assignment. The method is an adaptation of traditional methods for modeling SNP genotype data that assume Gaussian mixture model, whereby CNV calling is performed for all family members simultaneously and leveraging within family-data to reduce CNV calls that are incompatible with Mendelian inheritance while still allowing de-novo CNVs. Applying this method to simulation studies and a genome-wide association study in asthma, we find that our approach significantly improves CNV calls accuracy, and reduces the Mendelian inconsistency rates and false positive genotype calls. The results were validated using qPCR experiments.
Conclusions
In conclusion, we have demonstrated that the use of family information can improve the quality of CNV calling and hopefully give more powerful association test of CNVs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-157
PMCID: PMC3668900  PMID: 23656838
6.  Outlier-Based Identification of Copy Number Variations Using Targeted Resequencing in a Small Cohort of Patients with Tetralogy of Fallot 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85375.
Copy number variations (CNVs) are one of the main sources of variability in the human genome. Many CNVs are associated with various diseases including cardiovascular disease. In addition to hybridization-based methods, next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are increasingly used for CNV discovery. However, respective computational methods applicable to NGS data are still limited. We developed a novel CNV calling method based on outlier detection applicable to small cohorts, which is of particular interest for the discovery of individual CNVs within families, de novo CNVs in trios and/or small cohorts of specific phenotypes like rare diseases. Approximately 7,000 rare diseases are currently known, which collectively affect ∼6% of the population. For our method, we applied the Dixon’s Q test to detect outliers and used a Hidden Markov Model for their assessment. The method can be used for data obtained by exome and targeted resequencing. We evaluated our outlier- based method in comparison to the CNV calling tool CoNIFER using eight HapMap exome samples and subsequently applied both methods to targeted resequencing data of patients with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), the most common cyanotic congenital heart disease. In both the HapMap samples and the TOF cases, our method is superior to CoNIFER, such that it identifies more true positive CNVs. Called CNVs in TOF cases were validated by qPCR and HapMap CNVs were confirmed with available array-CGH data. In the TOF patients, we found four copy number gains affecting three genes, of which two are important regulators of heart development (NOTCH1, ISL1) and one is located in a region associated with cardiac malformations (PRODH at 22q11). In summary, we present a novel CNV calling method based on outlier detection, which will be of particular interest for the analysis of de novo or individual CNVs in trios or cohorts up to 30 individuals, respectively.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085375
PMCID: PMC3882271  PMID: 24400131
7.  Inferring combined CNV/SNP haplotypes from genotype data 
Bioinformatics  2010;26(11):1437-1445.
Motivation: Copy number variations (CNVs) are increasingly recognized as an substantial source of individual genetic variation, and hence there is a growing interest in investigating the evolutionary history of CNVs as well as their impact on complex disease susceptibility. CNV/SNP haplotypes are critical for this research, but although many methods have been proposed for inferring integer copy number, few have been designed for inferring CNV haplotypic phase and none of these are applicable at genome-wide scale. Here, we present a method for inferring missing CNV genotypes, predicting CNV allelic configuration and for inferring CNV haplotypic phase from SNP/CNV genotype data. Our method, implemented in the software polyHap v2.0, is based on a hidden Markov model, which models the joint haplotype structure between CNVs and SNPs. Thus, haplotypic phase of CNVs and SNPs are inferred simultaneously. A sampling algorithm is employed to obtain a measure of confidence/credibility of each estimate.
Results: We generated diploid phase-known CNV–SNP genotype datasets by pairing male X chromosome CNV–SNP haplotypes. We show that polyHap provides accurate estimates of missing CNV genotypes, allelic configuration and CNV haplotypic phase on these datasets. We applied our method to a non-simulated dataset—a region on Chromosome 2 encompassing a short deletion. The results confirm that polyHap's accuracy extends to real-life datasets.
Availability: Our method is implemented in version 2.0 of the polyHap software package and can be downloaded from http://www.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/people/l.coin
Contact: l.coin@imperial.ac.uk
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq157
PMCID: PMC2913665  PMID: 20406911
8.  Genome-wide algorithm for detecting CNV associations with diseases 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:331.
Background
SNP genotyping arrays have been developed to characterize single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and DNA copy number variations (CNVs). Nonparametric and model-based statistical algorithms have been developed to detect CNVs from SNP data using the marker intensities. However, these algorithms lack specificity to detect small CNVs owing to the high false positive rate when calling CNVs based on the intensity values. Therefore, the resulting association tests lack power even if the CNVs affecting disease risk are common. An alternative procedure called PennCNV uses information from both the marker intensities as well as the genotypes and therefore has increased sensitivity.
Results
By using the hidden Markov model (HMM) implemented in PennCNV to derive the probabilities of different copy number states which we subsequently used in a logistic regression model, we developed a new genome-wide algorithm to detect CNV associations with diseases. We compared this new method with association test applied to the most probable copy number state for each individual that is provided by PennCNV after it performs an initial HMM analysis followed by application of the Viterbi algorithm, which removes information about copy number probabilities. In one of our simulation studies, we showed that for large CNVs (number of SNPs ≥ 10), the association tests based on PennCNV calls gave more significant results, but the new algorithm retained high power. For small CNVs (number of SNPs <10), the logistic algorithm provided smaller average p-values (e.g., p = 7.54e - 17 when relative risk RR = 3.0) in all the scenarios and could capture signals that PennCNV did not (e.g., p = 0.020 when RR = 3.0). From a second set of simulations, we showed that the new algorithm is more powerful in detecting disease associations with small CNVs (number of SNPs ranging from 3 to 5) under different penetrance models (e.g., when RR = 3.0, for relatively weak signals, power = 0.8030 comparing to 0.2879 obtained from the association tests based on PennCNV calls). The new method was implemented in software GWCNV. It is freely available at http://gwcnv.sourceforge.net, distributed under a GPL license.
Conclusions
We conclude that the new algorithm is more sensitive and can be more powerful in detecting CNV associations with diseases than the existing HMM algorithm, especially when the CNV association signal is weak and a limited number of SNPs are located in the CNV.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-331
PMCID: PMC3173460  PMID: 21827692
9.  Evaluation of copy number variation detection for a SNP array platform 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15:50.
Background
Copy Number Variations (CNVs) are usually inferred from Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) arrays by use of some software packages based on given algorithms. However, there is no clear understanding of the performance of these software packages; it is therefore difficult to select one or several software packages for CNV detection based on the SNP array platform.
We selected four publicly available software packages designed for CNV calling from an Affymetrix SNP array, including Birdsuite, dChip, Genotyping Console (GTC) and PennCNV. The publicly available dataset generated by Array-based Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH), with a resolution of 24 million probes per sample, was considered to be the “gold standard”. Compared with the CGH-based dataset, the success rate, average stability rate, sensitivity, consistence and reproducibility of these four software packages were assessed compared with the “gold standard”. Specially, we also compared the efficiency of detecting CNVs simultaneously by two, three and all of the software packages with that by a single software package.
Results
Simply from the quantity of the detected CNVs, Birdsuite detected the most while GTC detected the least. We found that Birdsuite and dChip had obvious detecting bias. And GTC seemed to be inferior because of the least amount of CNVs it detected. Thereafter we investigated the detection consistency produced by one certain software package and the rest three software suits. We found that the consistency of dChip was the lowest while GTC was the highest. Compared with the CNVs detecting result of CGH, in the matching group, GTC called the most matching CNVs, PennCNV-Affy ranked second. In the non-overlapping group, GTC called the least CNVs. With regards to the reproducibility of CNV calling, larger CNVs were usually replicated better. PennCNV-Affy shows the best consistency while Birdsuite shows the poorest.
Conclusion
We found that PennCNV outperformed the other three packages in the sensitivity and specificity of CNV calling. Obviously, each calling method had its own limitations and advantages for different data analysis. Therefore, the optimized calling methods might be identified using multiple algorithms to evaluate the concordance and discordance of SNP array-based CNV calling.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-50
PMCID: PMC4015297  PMID: 24555668
CNV; CGH; Evaluation; Comparison; Performance test; Reproducibility test; Success rate; Birdsuite; dChip; GTC; PennCNV
10.  Observations on Copy Number Variations in a Kidney-yang Deficiency Syndrome Family 
We have performed an analysis of a family with kidney-yang deficiency syndrome (KDS) in order to determine the structural genomic variations through a novel approach designated as “copy number variants” (CNVs). Twelve KDS subjects and three healthy spouses from this family were included in this study. Genomic DNA samples were genotyped utilizing an Affymetrix 100 K single nucleotide polymorphism array, and CNVs were identified by Copy Number Algorithm (CNAT4.0, Affymetrix). Our results demonstrate that 447 deleted and 476 duplicated CNVs are shared among KDS subjects within the family. The homologus ratio of deleted CNVs was as high as 99.78%. One-copy-duplicated CNVs display mid-range homology. For two copies of duplicated CNVs (CNV4), a markedly heterologous ratio was observed. Therefore, with the important exception of CNV4, our data shows that CNVs shared among KDS subjects display typical Mendelian inheritance. A total of 113 genes with established functions were identified from the CNV flanks; significantly enriched genes surrounding CNVs may contribute to certain adaptive benefit. These genes could be classified into categories including: binding and transporter, cell cycle, signal transduction, biogenesis, nerve development, metabolism regulation and immune response. They can also be included into three pathways, that is, signal transduction, metabolic processes and immunological networks. Particularly, the results reported here are consistent with the extensive impairments observed in KDS patients, involving the mass-energy-information-carrying network. In conclusion, this article provides the first set of CNVs from KDS patients that will facilitate our further understanding of the genetic basis of KDS and will allow novel strategies for a rational therapy of this disease.
doi:10.1093/ecam/neq069
PMCID: PMC3136678  PMID: 21811512
11.  Analysis of copy loss and gain variations in Holstein cattle autosomes using BeadChip SNPs 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:673.
Background
Copy number variation (CNV) has been recently identified in human and other mammalian genomes, and there is a growing awareness of CNV's potential as a major source for heritable variation in complex traits. Genomic selection is a newly developed tool based on the estimation of breeding values for quantitative traits through the use of genome-wide genotyping of SNPs. Over 30,000 Holstein bulls have been genotyped with the Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip, which includes 54,001 SNPs (~SNP/50,000 bp), some of which fall within CNV regions.
Results
We used the BeadChip data obtained for 912 Israeli bulls to investigate the effects of CNV on SNP calls. For each of the SNPs, we estimated the frequencies of occurrence of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and of gain, based either on deviation from the expected Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) or on signal intensity (SI) using the PennCNV "detect" option. Correlations between LOH/CNV frequencies predicted by the two methods were low (up to r = 0.08). Nevertheless, 418 locations displayed significantly high frequencies by both methods. Efficiency of designating large genomic clusters of olfactory receptors as CNVs was 29%. Frequency values for copy loss were distinguishable in non-autosomal regions, indicating misplacement of a region in the current BTA7 map. Analysis of BTA18 placed major quantitative trait loci affecting net merit in the US Holstein population in regions rich in segmental duplications and CNVs. Enrichment of transporters in CNV loci suggested their potential effect on milk-production traits.
Conclusions
Expansion of HWE and PennCNV analyses allowed estimating LOH/CNV frequencies, and combining the two methods yielded more sensitive detection of inherited CNVs and better estimation of their possible effects on cattle genetics. Although this approach was more effective than methodologies previously applied in cattle, it has severe limitations. Thus the number of CNVs reported here for the Holstein breed may represent as little as one-tenth of inherited common structural variation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-673
PMCID: PMC3091787  PMID: 21114805
12.  Genome-Wide Mapping of Copy Number Variation in Humans: Comparative Analysis of High Resolution Array Platforms 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27859.
Accurate and efficient genome-wide detection of copy number variants (CNVs) is essential for understanding human genomic variation, genome-wide CNV association type studies, cytogenetics research and diagnostics, and independent validation of CNVs identified from sequencing based technologies. Numerous, array-based platforms for CNV detection exist utilizing array Comparative Genome Hybridization (aCGH), Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) genotyping or both. We have quantitatively assessed the abilities of twelve leading genome-wide CNV detection platforms to accurately detect Gold Standard sets of CNVs in the genome of HapMap CEU sample NA12878, and found significant differences in performance. The technologies analyzed were the NimbleGen 4.2 M, 2.1 M and 3×720 K Whole Genome and CNV focused arrays, the Agilent 1×1 M CGH and High Resolution and 2×400 K CNV and SNP+CGH arrays, the Illumina Human Omni1Quad array and the Affymetrix SNP 6.0 array. The Gold Standards used were a 1000 Genomes Project sequencing-based set of 3997 validated CNVs and an ultra high-resolution aCGH-based set of 756 validated CNVs. We found that sensitivity, total number, size range and breakpoint resolution of CNV calls were highest for CNV focused arrays. Our results are important for cost effective CNV detection and validation for both basic and clinical applications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027859
PMCID: PMC3227574  PMID: 22140474
13.  Identification and validation of copy number variants using SNP genotyping arrays from a large clinical cohort 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:241.
Background
Genotypes obtained with commercial SNP arrays have been extensively used in many large case-control or population-based cohorts for SNP-based genome-wide association studies for a multitude of traits. Yet, these genotypes capture only a small fraction of the variance of the studied traits. Genomic structural variants (GSV) such as Copy Number Variation (CNV) may account for part of the missing heritability, but their comprehensive detection requires either next-generation arrays or sequencing. Sophisticated algorithms that infer CNVs by combining the intensities from SNP-probes for the two alleles can already be used to extract a partial view of such GSV from existing data sets.
Results
Here we present several advances to facilitate the latter approach. First, we introduce a novel CNV detection method based on a Gaussian Mixture Model. Second, we propose a new algorithm, PCA merge, for combining copy-number profiles from many individuals into consensus regions. We applied both our new methods as well as existing ones to data from 5612 individuals from the CoLaus study who were genotyped on Affymetrix 500K arrays. We developed a number of procedures in order to evaluate the performance of the different methods. This includes comparison with previously published CNVs as well as using a replication sample of 239 individuals, genotyped with Illumina 550K arrays. We also established a new evaluation procedure that employs the fact that related individuals are expected to share their CNVs more frequently than randomly selected individuals. The ability to detect both rare and common CNVs provides a valuable resource that will facilitate association studies exploring potential phenotypic associations with CNVs.
Conclusion
Our new methodologies for CNV detection and their evaluation will help in extracting additional information from the large amount of SNP-genotyping data on various cohorts and use this to explore structural variants and their impact on complex traits.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-241
PMCID: PMC3464625  PMID: 22702538
14.  Accuracy of CNV Detection from GWAS Data 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14511.
Several computer programs are available for detecting copy number variants (CNVs) using genome-wide SNP arrays. We evaluated the performance of four CNV detection software suites—Birdsuite, Partek, HelixTree, and PennCNV-Affy—in the identification of both rare and common CNVs. Each program's performance was assessed in two ways. The first was its recovery rate, i.e., its ability to call 893 CNVs previously identified in eight HapMap samples by paired-end sequencing of whole-genome fosmid clones, and 51,440 CNVs identified by array Comparative Genome Hybridization (aCGH) followed by validation procedures, in 90 HapMap CEU samples. The second evaluation was program performance calling rare and common CNVs in the Bipolar Genome Study (BiGS) data set (1001 bipolar cases and 1033 controls, all of European ancestry) as measured by the Affymetrix SNP 6.0 array. Accuracy in calling rare CNVs was assessed by positive predictive value, based on the proportion of rare CNVs validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), while accuracy in calling common CNVs was assessed by false positive/false negative rates based on qPCR validation results from a subset of common CNVs. Birdsuite recovered the highest percentages of known HapMap CNVs containing >20 markers in two reference CNV datasets. The recovery rate increased with decreased CNV frequency. In the tested rare CNV data, Birdsuite and Partek had higher positive predictive values than the other software suites. In a test of three common CNVs in the BiGS dataset, Birdsuite's call was 98.8% consistent with qPCR quantification in one CNV region, but the other two regions showed an unacceptable degree of accuracy. We found relatively poor consistency between the two “gold standards,” the sequence data of Kidd et al., and aCGH data of Conrad et al. Algorithms for calling CNVs especially common ones need substantial improvement, and a “gold standard” for detection of CNVs remains to be established.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014511
PMCID: PMC3020939  PMID: 21249187
15.  Large Copy-Number Variations Are Enriched in Cases With Moderate to Extreme Obesity 
Diabetes  2010;59(10):2690-2694.
OBJECTIVE
Obesity is an increasingly common disorder that predisposes to several medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes. We investigated whether large and rare copy-number variations (CNVs) differentiate moderate to extreme obesity from never-overweight control subjects.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, we performed a genome-wide CNV survey on 430 obese case subjects (BMI >35 kg/m2) and 379 never-overweight control subjects (BMI <25 kg/m2). All subjects were of European ancestry and were genotyped on the Illumina HumanHap550 arrays with ∼550,000 SNP markers. The CNV calls were generated by PennCNV software.
RESULTS
CNVs >1 Mb were found to be overrepresented in case versus control subjects (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5 [95% CI 0.5–5]), and CNVs >2 Mb were present in 1.3% of the case subjects but were absent in control subjects (OR = infinity [95% CI 1.2–infinity]). When focusing on rare deletions that disrupt genes, even more pronounced effect sizes are observed (OR = 2.7 [95% CI 0.5–27.1] for CNVs >1 Mb). Interestingly, obese case subjects who carry these large CNVs have moderately high BMI and do not appear to be extreme cases. Several CNVs disrupt known candidate genes for obesity, such as a 3.3-Mb deletion disrupting NAP1L5 and a 2.1-Mb deletion disrupting UCP1 and IL15.
CONCLUSIONS
Our results suggest that large CNVs, especially rare deletions, confer risk of obesity in patients with moderate obesity and that genes impacted by large CNVs represent intriguing candidates for obesity that warrant further study.
doi:10.2337/db10-0192
PMCID: PMC3279563  PMID: 20622171
16.  CNstream: A method for the identification and genotyping of copy number polymorphisms using Illumina microarrays 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:264.
Background
Understanding the genetic basis of disease risk in depth requires an exhaustive knowledge of the types of genetic variation. Very recently, Copy Number Variants (CNVs) have received much attention because of their potential implication in common disease susceptibility. Copy Number Polymorphisms (CNPs) are of interest as they segregate at an appreciable frequency in the general population (i.e. > 1%) and are potentially implicated in the genetic basis of common diseases.
Results
This paper concerns CNstream, a method for whole-genome CNV discovery and genotyping, using Illumina Beadchip arrays. Compared with other methods, a high level of accuracy was achieved by analyzing the measures of each intensity channel separately and combining information from multiple samples. The CNstream method uses heuristics and parametrical statistics to assign a confidence score to each sample at each probe; the sensitivity of the analysis is increased by jointly calling the copy number state over a set of nearby and consecutive probes. The present method has been tested on a real dataset of 575 samples genotyped using Illumina HumanHap 300 Beadchip, and demonstrates a high correlation with the Database of Genomic Variants (DGV). The same set of samples was analyzed with PennCNV, one of the most frequently used copy number inference methods for Illumina platforms. CNstream was able to identify CNP loci that are not detected by PennCNV and it increased the sensitivity over multiple other loci in the genome.
Conclusions
CNstream is a useful method for the identification and characterization of CNPs using Illumina genotyping microarrays. Compared to the PennCNV method, it has greater sensitivity over multiple CNP loci and allows more powerful statistical analysis in these regions. Therefore, CNstream is a robust CNP analysis tool of use to researchers performing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on Illumina platforms and aiming to identify CNVs associated with the variables of interest. CNstream has been implemented as an R statistical software package that can work directly from raw intensity files generated from Illumina GWAS projects. The method is available at http://www.urr.cat/cnv/cnstream.html.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-264
PMCID: PMC3098064  PMID: 20482829
17.  A stochastic inference of de novo CNV detection and association test in multiplex schizophrenia families 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:185.
The copy number variation (CNV) is a type of genetic variation in the genome. It is measured based on signal intensity measures and can be assessed repeatedly to reduce the uncertainty in PCR-based typing. Studies have shown that CNVs may lead to phenotypic variation and modification of disease expression. Various challenges exist, however, in the exploration of CNV-disease association. Here we construct latent variables to infer the discrete CNV values and to estimate the probability of mutations. In addition, we propose to pool rare variants to increase the statistical power and we conduct family studies to mitigate the computational burden in determining the composition of CNVs on each chromosome. To explore in a stochastic sense the association between the collapsing CNV variants and disease status, we utilize a Bayesian hierarchical model incorporating the mutation parameters. This model assigns integers in a probabilistic sense to the quantitatively measured copy numbers, and is able to test simultaneously the association for all variants of interest in a regression framework. This integrative model can account for the uncertainty in copy number assignment and differentiate if the variation was de novo or inherited on the basis of posterior probabilities. For family studies, this model can accommodate the dependence within family members and among repeated CNV data. Moreover, the Mendelian rule can be assumed under this model and yet the genetic variation, including de novo and inherited variation, can still be included and quantified directly for each individual. Finally, simulation studies show that this model has high true positive and low false positive rates in the detection of de novo mutation.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00185
PMCID: PMC3779856  PMID: 24065985
Bayesian model; CNV association test; de novo CNV detection; schizophrenia multiplex family; random mutation parameter
18.  Comparison of genome-wide array genomic hybridization platforms for the detection of copy number variants in idiopathic mental retardation 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:25.
Background
Clinical laboratories are adopting array genomic hybridization as a standard clinical test. A number of whole genome array genomic hybridization platforms are available, but little is known about their comparative performance in a clinical context.
Methods
We studied 30 children with idiopathic MR and both unaffected parents of each child using Affymetrix 500 K GeneChip SNP arrays, Agilent Human Genome 244 K oligonucleotide arrays and NimbleGen 385 K Whole-Genome oligonucleotide arrays. We also determined whether CNVs called on these platforms were detected by Illumina Hap550 beadchips or SMRT 32 K BAC whole genome tiling arrays and tested 15 of the 30 trios on Affymetrix 6.0 SNP arrays.
Results
The Affymetrix 500 K, Agilent and NimbleGen platforms identified 3061 autosomal and 117 X chromosomal CNVs in the 30 trios. 147 of these CNVs appeared to be de novo, but only 34 (22%) were found on more than one platform. Performing genotype-phenotype correlations, we identified 7 most likely pathogenic and 2 possibly pathogenic CNVs for MR. All 9 of these putatively pathogenic CNVs were detected by the Affymetrix 500 K, Agilent, NimbleGen and the Illumina arrays, and 5 were found by the SMRT BAC array. Both putatively pathogenic CNVs identified in the 15 trios tested with the Affymetrix 6.0 were identified by this platform.
Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate that different results are obtained with different platforms and illustrate the trade-off that exists between sensitivity and specificity. The large number of apparently false positive CNV calls on each of the platforms supports the need for validating clinically important findings with a different technology.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-4-25
PMCID: PMC3076225  PMID: 21439053
19.  Comparative analysis of copy number variation detection methods and database construction 
BMC Genetics  2011;12:29.
Background
Array-based detection of copy number variations (CNVs) is widely used for identifying disease-specific genetic variations. However, the accuracy of CNV detection is not sufficient and results differ depending on the detection programs used and their parameters. In this study, we evaluated five widely used CNV detection programs, Birdsuite (mainly consisting of the Birdseye and Canary modules), Birdseye (part of Birdsuite), PennCNV, CGHseg, and DNAcopy from the viewpoint of performance on the Affymetrix platform using HapMap data and other experimental data. Furthermore, we identified CNVs of 180 healthy Japanese individuals using parameters that showed the best performance in the HapMap data and investigated their characteristics.
Results
The results indicate that Hidden Markov model-based programs PennCNV and Birdseye (part of Birdsuite), or Birdsuite show better detection performance than other programs when the high reproducibility rates of the same individuals and the low Mendelian inconsistencies are considered. Furthermore, when rates of overlap with other experimental results were taken into account, Birdsuite showed the best performance from the view point of sensitivity but was expected to include many false negatives and some false positives. The results of 180 healthy Japanese demonstrate that the ratio containing repeat sequences, not only segmental repeats but also long interspersed nuclear element (LINE) sequences both in the start and end regions of the CNVs, is higher in CNVs that are commonly detected among multiple individuals than that in randomly selected regions, and the conservation score based on primates is lower in these regions than in randomly selected regions. Similar tendencies were observed in HapMap data and other experimental data.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that not only segmental repeats but also interspersed repeats, especially LINE sequences, are deeply involved in CNVs, particularly in common CNV formations.
The detected CNVs are stored in the CNV repository database newly constructed by the "Japanese integrated database project" for sharing data among researchers. http://gwas.lifesciencedb.jp/cgi-bin/cnvdb/cnv_top.cgi
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-29
PMCID: PMC3058066  PMID: 21385384
20.  Continuing difficulties in interpreting CNV data: lessons from a genome-wide CNV association study of Australian HNPCC/lynch syndrome patients 
BMC Medical Genomics  2013;6:10.
Background
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)/Lynch syndrome (LS) is a cancer syndrome characterised by early-onset epithelial cancers, especially colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer. The aim of the current study was to use SNP-array technology to identify genomic aberrations which could contribute to the increased risk of cancer in HNPCC/LS patients.
Methods
Individuals diagnosed with HNPCC/LS (100) and healthy controls (384) were genotyped using the Illumina Human610-Quad SNP-arrays. Copy number variation (CNV) calling and association analyses were performed using Nexus software, with significant results validated using QuantiSNP. TaqMan Copy-Number assays were used for verification of CNVs showing significant association with HNPCC/LS identified by both software programs.
Results
We detected copy number (CN) gains associated with HNPCC/LS status on chromosome 7q11.21 (28% cases and 0% controls, Nexus; p = 3.60E-20 and QuantiSNP; p < 1.00E-16) and 16p11.2 (46% in cases, while a CN loss was observed in 23% of controls, Nexus; p = 4.93E-21 and QuantiSNP; p = 5.00E-06) via in silico analyses. TaqMan Copy-Number assay was used for validation of CNVs showing significant association with HNPCC/LS. In addition, CNV burden (total CNV length, average CNV length and number of observed CNV events) was significantly greater in cases compared to controls.
Conclusion
A greater CNV burden was identified in HNPCC/LS cases compared to controls supporting the notion of higher genomic instability in these patients. One intergenic locus on chromosome 7q11.21 is possibly associated with HNPCC/LS and deserves further investigation. The results from this study highlight the complexities of fluorescent based CNV analyses. The inefficiency of both CNV detection methods to reproducibly detect observed CNVs demonstrates the need for sequence data to be considered alongside intensity data to avoid false positive results.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-6-10
PMCID: PMC3626775  PMID: 23531357
HNPCC; Lynch syndrome; SNP arrays; CNVs; CNV burden
21.  The landscape of inherited and de novo copy number variants in a plasmodium falciparum genetic cross 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:457.
Background
Copy number is a major source of genome variation with important evolutionary implications. Consequently, it is essential to determine copy number variant (CNV) behavior, distributions and frequencies across genomes to understand their origins in both evolutionary and generational time frames. We use comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) microarray and the resolution provided by a segregating population of cloned progeny lines of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to identify and analyze the inheritance of 170 genome-wide CNVs.
Results
We describe CNVs in progeny clones derived from both Mendelian (i.e. inherited) and non-Mendelian mechanisms. Forty-five CNVs were present in the parent lines and segregated in the progeny population. Furthermore, extensive variation that did not conform to strict Mendelian inheritance patterns was observed. 124 CNVs were called in one or more progeny but in neither parent: we observed CNVs in more than one progeny clone that were not identified in either parent, located more frequently in the telomeric-subtelomeric regions of chromosomes and singleton de novo CNVs distributed evenly throughout the genome. Linkage analysis of CNVs revealed dynamic copy number fluctuations and suggested mechanisms that could have generated them. Five of 12 previously identified expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) hotspots coincide with CNVs, demonstrating the potential for broad influence of CNV on the transcriptional program and phenotypic variation.
Conclusions
CNVs are a significant source of segregating and de novo genome variation involving hundreds of genes. Examination of progeny genome segments provides a framework to assess the extent and possible origins of CNVs. This segregating genetic system reveals the breadth, distribution and dynamics of CNVs in a surprisingly plastic parasite genome, providing a new perspective on the sources of diversity in parasite populations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-457
PMCID: PMC3191341  PMID: 21936954
22.  Comparative analyses of seven algorithms for copy number variant identification from single nucleotide polymorphism arrays 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(9):e105.
Determination of copy number variants (CNVs) inferred in genome wide single nucleotide polymorphism arrays has shown increasing utility in genetic variant disease associations. Several CNV detection methods are available, but differences in CNV call thresholds and characteristics exist. We evaluated the relative performance of seven methods: circular binary segmentation, CNVFinder, cnvPartition, gain and loss of DNA, Nexus algorithms, PennCNV and QuantiSNP. Tested data included real and simulated Illumina HumHap 550 data from the Singapore cohort study of the risk factors for Myopia (SCORM) and simulated data from Affymetrix 6.0 and platform-independent distributions. The normalized singleton ratio (NSR) is proposed as a metric for parameter optimization before enacting full analysis. We used 10 SCORM samples for optimizing parameter settings for each method and then evaluated method performance at optimal parameters using 100 SCORM samples. The statistical power, false positive rates, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve residuals were evaluated by simulation studies. Optimal parameters, as determined by NSR and ROC curve residuals, were consistent across datasets. QuantiSNP outperformed other methods based on ROC curve residuals over most datasets. Nexus Rank and SNPRank have low specificity and high power. Nexus Rank calls oversized CNVs. PennCNV detects one of the fewest numbers of CNVs.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkq040
PMCID: PMC2875020  PMID: 20142258
23.  ParseCNV integrative copy number variation association software with quality tracking 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(5):e64.
A number of copy number variation (CNV) calling algorithms exist; however, comprehensive software tools for CNV association studies are lacking. We describe ParseCNV, unique software that takes CNV calls and creates probe-based statistics for CNV occurrence in both case–control design and in family based studies addressing both de novo and inheritance events, which are then summarized based on CNV regions (CNVRs). CNVRs are defined in a dynamic manner to allow for a complex CNV overlap while maintaining precise association region. Using this approach, we avoid failure to converge and non-monotonic curve fitting weaknesses of programs, such as CNVtools and CNVassoc, and although Plink is easy to use, it only provides combined CNV state probe-based statistics, not state-specific CNVRs. Existing CNV association methods do not provide any quality tracking information to filter confident associations, a key issue which is fully addressed by ParseCNV. In addition, uncertainty in CNV calls underlying CNV associations is evaluated to verify significant results, including CNV overlap profiles, genomic context, number of probes supporting the CNV and single-probe intensities. When optimal quality control parameters are followed using ParseCNV, 90% of CNVs validate by polymerase chain reaction, an often problematic stage because of inadequate significant association review. ParseCNV is freely available at http://parsecnv.sourceforge.net.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks1346
PMCID: PMC3597648  PMID: 23293001
24.  Genomic Landscape of a Three-Generation Pedigree Segregating Affective Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4474.
Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a common psychiatric illness with a complex mode of inheritance. Besides traditional linkage and association studies, which require large sample sizes, analysis of common and rare chromosomal copy number variants (CNVs) in extended families may provide novel insights into the genetic susceptibility of complex disorders. Using the Illumina HumanHap550 BeadChip with over 550,000 SNP markers, we genotyped 46 individuals in a three-generation Old Order Amish pedigree with 19 affected (16 BPD and three major depression) and 27 unaffected subjects. Using the PennCNV algorithm, we identified 50 CNV regions that ranged in size from 12 to 885 kb and encompassed at least 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Of 19 well characterized CNV regions that were available for combined genotype-expression analysis 11 (58%) were associated with expression changes of genes within, partially within or near these CNV regions in fibroblasts or lymphoblastoid cell lines at a nominal P value <0.05. To further investigate the mode of inheritance of CNVs in the large pedigree, we analyzed a set of four CNVs, located at 6q27, 9q21.11, 12p13.31 and 15q11, all of which were enriched in subjects with affective disorders. We additionally show that these variants affect the expression of neuronal genes within or near the rearrangement. Our analysis suggests that family based studies of the combined effect of common and rare CNVs at many loci may represent a useful approach in the genetic analysis of disease susceptibility of mental disorders.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004474
PMCID: PMC2637422  PMID: 19214233
25.  Software comparison for evaluating genomic copy number variation for Affymetrix 6.0 SNP array platform 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:220.
Background
Copy number data are routinely being extracted from genome-wide association study chips using a variety of software. We empirically evaluated and compared four freely-available software packages designed for Affymetrix SNP chips to estimate copy number: Affymetrix Power Tools (APT), Aroma.Affymetrix, PennCNV and CRLMM. Our evaluation used 1,418 GENOA samples that were genotyped on the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0. We compared bias and variance in the locus-level copy number data, the concordance amongst regions of copy number gains/deletions and the false-positive rate amongst deleted segments.
Results
APT had median locus-level copy numbers closest to a value of two, whereas PennCNV and Aroma.Affymetrix had the smallest variability associated with the median copy number. Of those evaluated, only PennCNV provides copy number specific quality-control metrics and identified 136 poor CNV samples. Regions of copy number variation (CNV) were detected using the hidden Markov models provided within PennCNV and CRLMM/VanillaIce. PennCNV detected more CNVs than CRLMM/VanillaIce; the median number of CNVs detected per sample was 39 and 30, respectively. PennCNV detected most of the regions that CRLMM/VanillaIce did as well as additional CNV regions. The median concordance between PennCNV and CRLMM/VanillaIce was 47.9% for duplications and 51.5% for deletions. The estimated false-positive rate associated with deletions was similar for PennCNV and CRLMM/VanillaIce.
Conclusions
If the objective is to perform statistical tests on the locus-level copy number data, our empirical results suggest that PennCNV or Aroma.Affymetrix is optimal. If the objective is to perform statistical tests on the summarized segmented data then PennCNV would be preferred over CRLMM/VanillaIce. Specifically, PennCNV allows the analyst to estimate locus-level copy number, perform segmentation and evaluate CNV-specific quality-control metrics within a single software package. PennCNV has relatively small bias, small variability and detects more regions while maintaining a similar estimated false-positive rate as CRLMM/VanillaIce. More generally, we advocate that software developers need to provide guidance with respect to evaluating and choosing optimal settings in order to obtain optimal results for an individual dataset. Until such guidance exists, we recommend trying multiple algorithms, evaluating concordance/discordance and subsequently consider the union of regions for downstream association tests.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-220
PMCID: PMC3146450  PMID: 21627824

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