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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.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  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
13.  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
14.  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
15.  Systematic Inference of Copy-Number Genotypes from Personal Genome Sequencing Data Reveals Extensive Olfactory Receptor Gene Content Diversity 
PLoS Computational Biology  2010;6(11):e1000988.
Copy-number variations (CNVs) are widespread in the human genome, but comprehensive assignments of integer locus copy-numbers (i.e., copy-number genotypes) that, for example, enable discrimination of homozygous from heterozygous CNVs, have remained challenging. Here we present CopySeq, a novel computational approach with an underlying statistical framework that analyzes the depth-of-coverage of high-throughput DNA sequencing reads, and can incorporate paired-end and breakpoint junction analysis based CNV-analysis approaches, to infer locus copy-number genotypes. We benchmarked CopySeq by genotyping 500 chromosome 1 CNV regions in 150 personal genomes sequenced at low-coverage. The assessed copy-number genotypes were highly concordant with our performed qPCR experiments (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.94), and with the published results of two microarray platforms (95–99% concordance). We further demonstrated the utility of CopySeq for analyzing gene regions enriched for segmental duplications by comprehensively inferring copy-number genotypes in the CNV-enriched >800 olfactory receptor (OR) human gene and pseudogene loci. CopySeq revealed that OR loci display an extensive range of locus copy-numbers across individuals, with zero to two copies in some OR loci, and two to nine copies in others. Among genetic variants affecting OR loci we identified deleterious variants including CNVs and SNPs affecting ∼15% and ∼20% of the human OR gene repertoire, respectively, implying that genetic variants with a possible impact on smell perception are widespread. Finally, we found that for several OR loci the reference genome appears to represent a minor-frequency variant, implying a necessary revision of the OR repertoire for future functional studies. CopySeq can ascertain genomic structural variation in specific gene families as well as at a genome-wide scale, where it may enable the quantitative evaluation of CNVs in genome-wide association studies involving high-throughput sequencing.
Author Summary
Human individual genome sequencing has recently become affordable, enabling highly detailed genetic sequence comparisons. While the identification and genotyping of single-nucleotide polymorphisms has already been successfully established for different sequencing platforms, the detection, quantification and genotyping of large-scale copy-number variants (CNVs), i.e., losses or gains of long genomic segments, has remained challenging. We present a computational approach that enables detecting CNVs in sequencing data and accurately identifies the actual copy-number at which DNA segments of interest occur in an individual genome. This approach enabled us to obtain novel insights into the largest human gene family – the olfactory receptors (ORs) – involved in smell perception. While previous studies reported an abundance of CNVs in ORs, our approach enabled us to globally identify absolute differences in OR gene counts that exist between humans. While several OR genes have very high gene counts, other ORs are found only once or are missing entirely in some individuals. The latter have a particularly high probability of influencing individual differences in the perception of smell, a question that future experimental efforts can now address. Furthermore, we observed differences in OR gene counts between populations, pointing at ORs that might contribute to population-specific differences in smell.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000988
PMCID: PMC2978733  PMID: 21085617
16.  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
17.  Effect of Combining Multiple CNV Defining Algorithms on the Reliability of CNV Calls from SNP Genotyping Data 
Genomics & Informatics  2012;10(3):194-199.
In addition to single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), copy number variation (CNV) is a major component of human genetic diversity. Among many whole-genome analysis platforms, SNP arrays have been commonly used for genomewide CNV discovery. Recently, a number of CNV defining algorithms from SNP genotyping data have been developed; however, due to the fundamental limitation of SNP genotyping data for the measurement of signal intensity, there are still concerns regarding the possibility of false discovery or low sensitivity for detecting CNVs. In this study, we aimed to verify the effect of combining multiple CNV calling algorithms and set up the most reliable pipeline for CNV calling with Affymetrix Genomewide SNP 5.0 data. For this purpose, we selected the 3 most commonly used algorithms for CNV segmentation from SNP genotyping data, PennCNV, QuantiSNP; and BirdSuite. After defining the CNV loci using the 3 different algorithms, we assessed how many of them overlapped with each other, and we also validated the CNVs by genomic quantitative PCR. Through this analysis, we proposed that for reliable CNV-based genomewide association study using SNP array data, CNV calls must be performed with at least 3 different algorithms and that the CNVs consistently called from more than 2 algorithms must be used for association analysis, because they are more reliable than the CNVs called from a single algorithm. Our result will be helpful to set up the CNV analysis protocols for Affymetrix Genomewide SNP 5.0 genotyping data.
doi:10.5808/GI.2012.10.3.194
PMCID: PMC3492655  PMID: 23166530
CNV defining algorithm; DNA copy number variations; SNP array
18.  Biological relevance of CNV calling methods using familial relatedness including monozygotic twins 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15:114.
Background
Studies involving the analysis of structural variation including Copy Number Variation (CNV) have recently exploded in the literature. Furthermore, CNVs have been associated with a number of complex diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. Common methods for CNV detection use SNP, CNV, or CGH arrays, where the signal intensities of consecutive probes are used to define the number of copies associated with a given genomic region. These practices pose a number of challenges that interfere with the ability of available methods to accurately call CNVs. It has, therefore, become necessary to develop experimental protocols to test the reliability of CNV calling methods from microarray data so that researchers can properly discriminate biologically relevant data from noise.
Results
We have developed a workflow for the integration of data from multiple CNV calling algorithms using the same array results. It uses four CNV calling programs: PennCNV (PC), Affymetrix® Genotyping Console™ (AGC), Partek® Genomics Suite™ (PGS) and Golden Helix SVS™ (GH) to analyze CEL files from the Affymetrix® Human SNP 6.0 Array™. To assess the relative suitability of each program, we used individuals of known genetic relationships. We found significant differences in CNV calls obtained by different CNV calling programs.
Conclusions
Although the programs showed variable patterns of CNVs in the same individuals, their distribution in individuals of different degrees of genetic relatedness has allowed us to offer two suggestions. The first involves the use of multiple algorithms for the detection of the largest possible number of CNVs, and the second suggests the use of PennCNV over all other methods when the use of only one software program is desirable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-114
PMCID: PMC4021055  PMID: 24750645
Microarrays; Copy number variation; Genetic relatedness; CNV calling methods; Monozygotic twins
19.  Both Rare and De Novo Copy Number Variants Are Prevalent in Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum but Not in Cerebellar Hypoplasia or Polymicrogyria 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003823.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) are severe congenital brain malformations with largely undiscovered causes. We conducted a large-scale chromosomal copy number variation (CNV) discovery effort in 255 ACC, 220 CBLH, and 147 PMG patients, and 2,349 controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC, but unexpectedly not CBLH or PMG patients, had rare genic CNVs over one megabase (p = 1.48×10−3; odds ratio [OR] = 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89–5.39). Rare genic CNVs were those that impacted at least one gene in less than 1% of the combined population of patients and controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients had rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes (p = 0.01; OR = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.69–5.18). Independent qPCR confirmation showed that 9.4% of ACC patients had de novo CNVs. These, in comparison to inherited CNVs, preferentially overlapped de novo CNVs previously observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (p = 3.06×10−4; OR = 7.55; 95% CI = 2.40–23.72). Interestingly, numerous reports have shown a reduced corpus callosum area in autistic patients, and diminished social and executive function in many ACC patients. We also confirmed and refined previously known CNVs, including significantly narrowing the 8p23.1-p11.1 duplication present in 2% of our current ACC cohort. We found six novel CNVs, each in a single patient, that are likely deleterious: deletions of 1p31.3-p31.1, 1q31.2-q31.3, 5q23.1, and 15q11.2-q13.1; and duplications of 2q11.2-q13 and 11p14.3-p14.2. One ACC patient with microcephaly had a paternally inherited deletion of 16p13.11 that included NDE1. Exome sequencing identified a recessive maternally inherited nonsense mutation in the non-deleted allele of NDE1, revealing the complexity of ACC genetics. This is the first systematic study of CNVs in congenital brain malformations, and shows a much higher prevalence of large gene-rich CNVs in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
Author Summary
Here, we systematically test the genetic etiology of three common developmental brain malformations: agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) by copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a large cohort of brain malformation patients and controls. We found significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients with rare genic CNVs over one megabase and with rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes when compared with controls. De novo CNVs were found in 9.4% of ACC patients, and interestingly many such CNVs overlapped with de novo CNVs observed in autism. Notably, numerous studies have demonstrated a reduction in the corpus callosum area in autistic brains. Our analysis also refined previously known large CNVs that cause these malformations, and identified six novel CNVs that are likely deleterious. One ACC patient had inherited a deletion from the father which, through exome sequencing, was found to uncover a recessive nonsense mutation in NDE1 on the non-deleted allele inherited from the mother. Our study is the first to systematically evaluate the burden of rare genic CNVs in congenital brain malformations and shows that large gene-rich CNVs are more common in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003823
PMCID: PMC3789824  PMID: 24098143
20.  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
21.  A High-Resolution Map of Segmental DNA Copy Number Variation in the Mouse Genome 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(1):e3.
Submicroscopic (less than 2 Mb) segmental DNA copy number changes are a recently recognized source of genetic variability between individuals. The biological consequences of copy number variants (CNVs) are largely undefined. In some cases, CNVs that cause gene dosage effects have been implicated in phenotypic variation. CNVs have been detected in diverse species, including mice and humans. Published studies in mice have been limited by resolution and strain selection. We chose to study 21 well-characterized inbred mouse strains that are the focus of an international effort to measure, catalog, and disseminate phenotype data. We performed comparative genomic hybridization using long oligomer arrays to characterize CNVs in these strains. This technique increased the resolution of CNV detection by more than an order of magnitude over previous methodologies. The CNVs range in size from 21 to 2,002 kb. Clustering strains by CNV profile recapitulates aspects of the known ancestry of these strains. Most of the CNVs (77.5%) contain annotated genes, and many (47.5%) colocalize with previously mapped segmental duplications in the mouse genome. We demonstrate that this technique can identify copy number differences associated with known polymorphic traits. The phenotype of previously uncharacterized strains can be predicted based on their copy number at these loci. Annotation of CNVs in the mouse genome combined with sequence-based analysis provides an important resource that will help define the genetic basis of complex traits.
Author Summary
A major goal of genetics and genomics is to understand how genetic differences between individuals (genotypes) translate into variation in disease susceptibility, behavior, and many other organism-level characteristics (phenotypes). While the sizes of genetic variants range from a single base to whole chromosomes, historically, only the extreme ends of this spectrum have been explored. DNA copy number variants (CNVs) lie between these two extremes, ranging in size from hundreds to millions of bases. The recent application of microarray technology to detect genetic variation in humans has led to the realization that CNVs are common. In fact, rough estimates indicate that CNVs and small-scale variants may constitute similar proportions of total genomic DNA. In this report, the authors characterize 80 CNVs across the genomes of 21 inbred strains of mice. The identification and characterization of mouse CNVs are important because inbred strains of mice are the most widely used model system to explore biomedical genetics. These CNVs are located near another class of genomic features, segmental duplications, more often than would be expected by chance, which supports the hypothesis that CNVs and segmental duplications are causally linked. Importantly, many of the CNVs contain known genes and thus may underlie both gene expression and phenotypic variation between strains.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030003
PMCID: PMC1761046  PMID: 17206864
22.  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
23.  De novo and inherited CNVs in MZ twin pairs selected for discordance and concordance on Attention Problems 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2012;20(10):1037-1043.
Copy number variations (CNVs) have been reported to be causal suspects in a variety of psychopathologic traits. We investigate whether de novo and/or inherited CNVs contribute to the risk for Attention Problems (APs) in children. Based on longitudinal phenotyping, 50 concordant and discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs were selected from a sample of ∼3200 MZ pairs. Two types of de novo CNVs were investigated: (1) CNVs shared by both MZ twins, but not inherited (pre-twinning de novo CNVs), which were detected by comparing copy number (CN) calls between parents and twins and (2) CNVs not shared by co-twins (post-twinning de novo CNVs), which were investigated by comparing the CN calls within MZ pairs. The association between the overall CNV burden and AP was also investigated for CNVs genome-wide, CNVs within genes and CNVs outside of genes. Two de novo CNVs were identified and validated using quantitative PCR: a pre-twinning de novo duplication in a concordant-unaffected twin pair and a post-twinning deletion in the higher scoring twin from a concordant-affected pair. For the overall CNV burden analyses, affected individuals had significantly larger CNVs that overlapped with genes than unaffected individuals (P=0.008). This study suggests that the presence of larger CNVs may increase the risk for AP, because they are more likely to affect genes, and confirms that MZ twins are not always genetically identical.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.49
PMCID: PMC3449078  PMID: 22490988
copy number variation; twin; Attention Problem; ADHD
24.  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
25.  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

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