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1.  Performance comparison of whole-genome sequencing platforms 
Nature biotechnology  2011;30(1):78-82.
Whole-genome sequencing is becoming commonplace, but the accuracy and completeness of variant calling by the most widely used platforms from Illumina and Complete Genomics have not been reported. Here we sequenced the genome of an individual with both technologies to a high average coverage of ~76×, and compared their performance with respect to sequence coverage and calling of single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), insertions and deletions (indels). Although 88.1% of the ~3.7 million unique SNVs were concordant between platforms, there were tens of thousands of platform-specific calls located in genes and other genomic regions. In contrast, 26.5% of indels were concordant between platforms. Target enrichment validated 92.7% of the concordant SNVs, whereas validation by genotyping array revealed a sensitivity of 99.3%. The validation experiments also suggested that >60% of the platform-specific variants were indeed present in the genome. Our results have important implications for understanding the accuracy and completeness of the genome sequencing platforms.
PMCID: PMC4076012  PMID: 22178993
2.  VAT: a computational framework to functionally annotate variants in personal genomes within a cloud-computing environment 
Bioinformatics  2012;28(17):2267-2269.
Summary: The functional annotation of variants obtained through sequencing projects is generally assumed to be a simple intersection of genomic coordinates with genomic features. However, complexities arise for several reasons, including the differential effects of a variant on alternatively spliced transcripts, as well as the difficulty in assessing the impact of small insertions/deletions and large structural variants. Taking these factors into consideration, we developed the Variant Annotation Tool (VAT) to functionally annotate variants from multiple personal genomes at the transcript level as well as obtain summary statistics across genes and individuals. VAT also allows visualization of the effects of different variants, integrates allele frequencies and genotype data from the underlying individuals and facilitates comparative analysis between different groups of individuals. VAT can either be run through a command-line interface or as a web application. Finally, in order to enable on-demand access and to minimize unnecessary transfers of large data files, VAT can be run as a virtual machine in a cloud-computing environment.
Availability and Implementation: VAT is implemented in C and PHP. The VAT web service, Amazon Machine Image, source code and detailed documentation are available at
Contact: or
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3426844  PMID: 22743228
3.  Personal Omics Profiling Reveals Dynamic Molecular and Medical Phenotypes 
Cell  2012;148(6):1293-1307.
Personalized medicine is expected to benefit from combining genomic information with regular monitoring of physiological states by multiple high-throughput methods. Here we present an integrative Personal Omics Profile (iPOP), an analysis that combines genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and autoantibody profiles from a single individual over a 14-month period. Our iPOP analysis revealed various medical risks, including Type II diabetes. It also uncovered extensive, dynamic changes in diverse molecular components and biological pathways across healthy and diseased conditions. Extremely high coverage genomic and transcriptomic data, which provide the basis of our iPOP, discovered extensive heteroallelic changes during healthy and diseased states and an unexpected RNA editing mechanism. This study demonstrates that longitudinal iPOP can be used to interpret healthy and disease states by connecting genomic information with additional dynamic omics activity.
PMCID: PMC3341616  PMID: 22424236
4.  Accurate Identification and Analysis of Human mRNA Isoforms Using Deep Long Read Sequencing 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;3(3):387-397.
Precise identification of RNA-coding regions and transcriptomes of eukaryotes is a significant problem in biology. Currently, eukaryote transcriptomes are analyzed using deep short-read sequencing experiments of complementary DNAs. The resulting short-reads are then aligned against a genome and annotated junctions to infer biological meaning. Here we use long-read complementary DNA datasets for the analysis of a eukaryotic transcriptome and generate two large datasets in the human K562 and HeLa S3 cell lines. Both data sets comprised at least 4 million reads and had median read lengths greater than 500 bp. We show that annotation-independent alignments of these reads provide partial gene structures that are very much in-line with annotated gene structures, 15% of which have not been obtained in a previous de novo analysis of short reads. For long-noncoding RNAs (i.e., lncRNA) genes, however, we find an increased fraction of novel gene structures among our alignments. Other important aspects of transcriptome analysis, such as the description of cell type-specific splicing, can be performed in an accurate, reliable and completely annotation-free manner, making it ideal for the analysis of transcriptomes of newly sequenced genomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that long read sequence can be assembled into full-length transcripts with considerable success. Our method is applicable to all long read sequencing technologies.
PMCID: PMC3583448  PMID: 23450794
RNA; Roche sequencing; human; splicing; transcriptome
5.  The GENCODE pseudogene resource 
Genome Biology  2012;13(9):R51.
Pseudogenes have long been considered as nonfunctional genomic sequences. However, recent evidence suggests that many of them might have some form of biological activity, and the possibility of functionality has increased interest in their accurate annotation and integration with functional genomics data.
As part of the GENCODE annotation of the human genome, we present the first genome-wide pseudogene assignment for protein-coding genes, based on both large-scale manual annotation and in silico pipelines. A key aspect of this coupled approach is that it allows us to identify pseudogenes in an unbiased fashion as well as untangle complex events through manual evaluation. We integrate the pseudogene annotations with the extensive ENCODE functional genomics information. In particular, we determine the expression level, transcription-factor and RNA polymerase II binding, and chromatin marks associated with each pseudogene. Based on their distribution, we develop simple statistical models for each type of activity, which we validate with large-scale RT-PCR-Seq experiments. Finally, we compare our pseudogenes with conservation and variation data from primate alignments and the 1000 Genomes project, producing lists of pseudogenes potentially under selection.
At one extreme, some pseudogenes possess conventional characteristics of functionality; these may represent genes that have recently died. On the other hand, we find interesting patterns of partial activity, which may suggest that dead genes are being resurrected as functioning non-coding RNAs. The activity data of each pseudogene are stored in an associated resource, psiDR, which will be useful for the initial identification of potentially functional pseudogenes.
PMCID: PMC3491395  PMID: 22951037
6.  A systematic survey of loss-of-function variants in human protein-coding genes 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;335(6070):823-828.
Genome sequencing studies indicate that all humans carry many genetic variants predicted to cause loss of function (LoF) of protein-coding genes, suggesting unexpected redundancy in the human genome. Here we apply stringent filters to 2,951 putative LoF variants obtained from 185 human genomes to determine their true prevalence and properties. We estimate that human genomes typically contain ~100 genuine LoF variants with ~20 genes completely inactivated. We identify rare and likely deleterious LoF alleles, including 26 known and 21 predicted severe disease-causing variants, as well as common LoF variants in non-essential genes. We describe functional and evolutionary differences between LoF-tolerant and recessive disease genes, and a method for using these differences to prioritize candidate genes found in clinical sequencing studies.
PMCID: PMC3299548  PMID: 22344438
7.  IQSeq: Integrated Isoform Quantification Analysis Based on Next-Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29175.
With the recent advances in high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), biologists are able to measure transcription with unprecedented precision. One problem that can now be tackled is that of isoform quantification: here one tries to reconstruct the abundances of isoforms of a gene. We have developed a statistical solution for this problem, based on analyzing a set of RNA-Seq reads, and a practical implementation, available from, in a tool we call IQSeq (Isoform Quantification in next-generation Sequencing). Here, we present theoretical results which IQSeq is based on, and then use both simulated and real datasets to illustrate various applications of the tool. In order to measure the accuracy of an isoform-quantification result, one would try to estimate the average variance of the estimated isoform abundances for each gene (based on resampling the RNA-seq reads), and IQSeq has a particularly fast algorithm (based on the Fisher Information Matrix) for calculating this, achieving a speedup of times compared to brute-force resampling. IQSeq also calculates an information theoretic measure of overall transcriptome complexity to describe isoform abundance for a whole experiment. IQSeq has many features that are particularly useful in RNA-Seq experimental design, allowing one to optimally model the integration of different sequencing technologies in a cost-effective way. In particular, the IQSeq formalism integrates the analysis of different sample (i.e. read) sets generated from different technologies within the same statistical framework. It also supports a generalized statistical partial-sample-generation function to model the sequencing process. This allows one to have a modular, “plugin-able” read-generation function to support the particularities of the many evolving sequencing technologies.
PMCID: PMC3253133  PMID: 22238592
8.  The genomic complexity of primary human prostate cancer 
Nature  2011;470(7333):214-220.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of male cancer deaths in the United States. Here we present the complete sequence of seven primary prostate cancers and their paired normal counterparts. Several tumors contained complex chains of balanced rearrangements that occurred within or adjacent to known cancer genes. Rearrangement breakpoints were enriched near open chromatin, androgen receptor and ERG DNA binding sites in the setting of the ETS gene fusion TMPRSS2-ERG, but inversely correlated with these regions in tumors lacking ETS fusions. This observation suggests a link between chromatin or transcriptional regulation and the genesis of genomic aberrations. Three tumors contained rearrangements that disrupted CADM2, and four harbored events disrupting either PTEN (unbalanced events), a prostate tumor suppressor, or MAGI2 (balanced events), a PTEN interacting protein not previously implicated in prostate tumorigenesis. Thus, genomic rearrangements may arise from transcriptional or chromatin aberrancies to engage prostate tumorigenic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3075885  PMID: 21307934
9.  Integrative Analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans Genome by the modENCODE Project 
Gerstein, Mark B. | Lu, Zhi John | Van Nostrand, Eric L. | Cheng, Chao | Arshinoff, Bradley I. | Liu, Tao | Yip, Kevin Y. | Robilotto, Rebecca | Rechtsteiner, Andreas | Ikegami, Kohta | Alves, Pedro | Chateigner, Aurelien | Perry, Marc | Morris, Mitzi | Auerbach, Raymond K. | Feng, Xin | Leng, Jing | Vielle, Anne | Niu, Wei | Rhrissorrakrai, Kahn | Agarwal, Ashish | Alexander, Roger P. | Barber, Galt | Brdlik, Cathleen M. | Brennan, Jennifer | Brouillet, Jeremy Jean | Carr, Adrian | Cheung, Ming-Sin | Clawson, Hiram | Contrino, Sergio | Dannenberg, Luke O. | Dernburg, Abby F. | Desai, Arshad | Dick, Lindsay | Dosé, Andréa C. | Du, Jiang | Egelhofer, Thea | Ercan, Sevinc | Euskirchen, Ghia | Ewing, Brent | Feingold, Elise A. | Gassmann, Reto | Good, Peter J. | Green, Phil | Gullier, Francois | Gutwein, Michelle | Guyer, Mark S. | Habegger, Lukas | Han, Ting | Henikoff, Jorja G. | Henz, Stefan R. | Hinrichs, Angie | Holster, Heather | Hyman, Tony | Iniguez, A. Leo | Janette, Judith | Jensen, Morten | Kato, Masaomi | Kent, W. James | Kephart, Ellen | Khivansara, Vishal | Khurana, Ekta | Kim, John K. | Kolasinska-Zwierz, Paulina | Lai, Eric C. | Latorre, Isabel | Leahey, Amber | Lewis, Suzanna | Lloyd, Paul | Lochovsky, Lucas | Lowdon, Rebecca F. | Lubling, Yaniv | Lyne, Rachel | MacCoss, Michael | Mackowiak, Sebastian D. | Mangone, Marco | McKay, Sheldon | Mecenas, Desirea | Merrihew, Gennifer | Miller, David M. | Muroyama, Andrew | Murray, John I. | Ooi, Siew-Loon | Pham, Hoang | Phippen, Taryn | Preston, Elicia A. | Rajewsky, Nikolaus | Rätsch, Gunnar | Rosenbaum, Heidi | Rozowsky, Joel | Rutherford, Kim | Ruzanov, Peter | Sarov, Mihail | Sasidharan, Rajkumar | Sboner, Andrea | Scheid, Paul | Segal, Eran | Shin, Hyunjin | Shou, Chong | Slack, Frank J. | Slightam, Cindie | Smith, Richard | Spencer, William C. | Stinson, E. O. | Taing, Scott | Takasaki, Teruaki | Vafeados, Dionne | Voronina, Ksenia | Wang, Guilin | Washington, Nicole L. | Whittle, Christina M. | Wu, Beijing | Yan, Koon-Kiu | Zeller, Georg | Zha, Zheng | Zhong, Mei | Zhou, Xingliang | Ahringer, Julie | Strome, Susan | Gunsalus, Kristin C. | Micklem, Gos | Liu, X. Shirley | Reinke, Valerie | Kim, Stuart K. | Hillier, LaDeana W. | Henikoff, Steven | Piano, Fabio | Snyder, Michael | Stein, Lincoln | Lieb, Jason D. | Waterston, Robert H.
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;330(6012):1775-1787.
We systematically generated large-scale data sets to improve genome annotation for the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a key model organism. These data sets include transcriptome profiling across a developmental time course, genome-wide identification of transcription factor–binding sites, and maps of chromatin organization. From this, we created more complete and accurate gene models, including alternative splice forms and candidate noncoding RNAs. We constructed hierarchical networks of transcription factor–binding and microRNA interactions and discovered chromosomal locations bound by an unusually large number of transcription factors. Different patterns of chromatin composition and histone modification were revealed between chromosome arms and centers, with similarly prominent differences between autosomes and the X chromosome. Integrating data types, we built statistical models relating chromatin, transcription factor binding, and gene expression. Overall, our analyses ascribed putative functions to most of the conserved genome.
PMCID: PMC3142569  PMID: 21177976
10.  RSEQtools: a modular framework to analyze RNA-Seq data using compact, anonymized data summaries 
Bioinformatics  2010;27(2):281-283.
Summary: The advent of next-generation sequencing for functional genomics has given rise to quantities of sequence information that are often so large that they are difficult to handle. Moreover, sequence reads from a specific individual can contain sufficient information to potentially identify and genetically characterize that person, raising privacy concerns. In order to address these issues, we have developed the Mapped Read Format (MRF), a compact data summary format for both short and long read alignments that enables the anonymization of confidential sequence information, while allowing one to still carry out many functional genomics studies. We have developed a suite of tools (RSEQtools) that use this format for the analysis of RNA-Seq experiments. These tools consist of a set of modules that perform common tasks such as calculating gene expression values, generating signal tracks of mapped reads and segmenting that signal into actively transcribed regions. Moreover, the tools can readily be used to build customizable RNA-Seq workflows. In addition to the anonymization afforded by MRF, this format also facilitates the decoupling of the alignment of reads from downstream analyses.
Availability and implementation: RSEQtools is implemented in C and the source code is available at
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3018817  PMID: 21134889
11.  FusionSeq: a modular framework for finding gene fusions by analyzing paired-end RNA-sequencing data 
Genome Biology  2010;11(10):R104.
We have developed FusionSeq to identify fusion transcripts from paired-end RNA-sequencing. FusionSeq includes filters to remove spurious candidate fusions with artifacts, such as misalignment or random pairing of transcript fragments, and it ranks candidates according to several statistics. It also has a module to identify exact sequences at breakpoint junctions. FusionSeq detected known and novel fusions in a specially sequenced calibration data set, including eight cancers with and without known rearrangements.
PMCID: PMC3218660  PMID: 20964841
13.  Variation in Transcription Factor Binding Among Humans 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;328(5975):232-235.
Differences in gene expression may play a major role in speciation and phenotypic diversity. We examined genome-wide differences in transcription factor (TF) binding in several humans and a single chimpanzee using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). The binding sites of RNA Polymerase II (PolII) and a key regulator of immune responses, NFκB (p65), were mapped in ten lymphoblastoid cell lines and 25% and 7.5% of the respective binding regions were found to differ between individuals. Binding differences were frequently associated with SNPs and genomic structural variants (SVs) and were often correlated with differences in gene expression, suggesting functional consequences of binding variation. Furthermore, comparing PolII binding between human and chimpanzee suggests extensive divergence in TF binding. Our results indicate that many differences in individuals and species occur at the level of TF binding and provide insight into the genetic events responsible for these differences.
PMCID: PMC2938768  PMID: 20299548
14.  Comparison and calibration of transcriptome data from RNA-Seq and tiling arrays 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:383.
Tiling arrays have been the tool of choice for probing an organism's transcriptome without prior assumptions about the transcribed regions, but RNA-Seq is becoming a viable alternative as the costs of sequencing continue to decrease. Understanding the relative merits of these technologies will help researchers select the appropriate technology for their needs.
Here, we compare these two platforms using a matched sample of poly(A)-enriched RNA isolated from the second larval stage of C. elegans. We find that the raw signals from these two technologies are reasonably well correlated but that RNA-Seq outperforms tiling arrays in several respects, notably in exon boundary detection and dynamic range of expression. By exploring the accuracy of sequencing as a function of depth of coverage, we found that about 4 million reads are required to match the sensitivity of two tiling array replicates. The effects of cross-hybridization were analyzed using a "nearest neighbor" classifier applied to array probes; we describe a method for determining potential "black list" regions whose signals are unreliable. Finally, we propose a strategy for using RNA-Seq data as a gold standard set to calibrate tiling array data. All tiling array and RNA-Seq data sets have been submitted to the modENCODE Data Coordinating Center.
Tiling arrays effectively detect transcript expression levels at a low cost for many species while RNA-Seq provides greater accuracy in several regards. Researchers will need to carefully select the technology appropriate to the biological investigations they are undertaking. It will also be important to reconsider a comparison such as ours as sequencing technologies continue to evolve.
PMCID: PMC3091629  PMID: 20565764
15.  Determining Structure and Function of Steroid Dehydrogenase Enzymes by Sequence Analysis, Homology Modeling, and Rational Mutational Analysis 
The short-chain oxidoreductase (SCOR) family of enzymes includes over 6,000 members identified in sequenced genomes. Of these enzymes, ~300 have been characterized functionally, and the three-dimensional crystal structures of ~40 have been reported. Since some SCOR enzymes are steroid dehydrogenases involved in hypertension, diabetes, breast cancer, and polycystic kidney disease, it is important to characterize the other members of the family for which the biological functions are currently unknown and to determine their three-dimensional structure and mechanism of action. Although the SCOR family appears to have only a single fully conserved residue, it was possible, using bioinformatics methods, to determine characteristic fingerprints composed of 30–40 residues that are conserved at the 70% or greater level in SCOR subgroups. These fingerprints permit reliable prediction of several important structure-function features including cofactor preference, catalytic residues, and substrate specificity. Human type 1 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase isomerase (3β-HSDI) has 30% sequence identity with a human UDP galactose 4-epimerase (UDPGE), a SCOR family enzyme for which an X-ray structure has been reported. Both UDPGE and 3-HSDI appear to trace their origins back to bacterial 3α,20β-HSD. Combining three-dimensional structural information and sequence data on the 3α,20β-HSD, UDPGE, and 3β-HSDI subfamilies with mutational analysis, we were able to identify the residues critical to the dehydrogenase function of 3-HSDI. We also identified the residues most probably responsible for the isomerase activity of 3β-HSDI. We test our predictions by specific mutations based on sequence analysis and our structure-based model.
PMCID: PMC1635414  PMID: 16467263
rational mutational analysis; steroid dehydrogenase; homology modeling; prostate cancer; breast cancer; prediction of ligand specificity; testosterone 3-HSDII

Results 1-15 (15)