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1.  eALPS: Estimating Abundance Levels in Pooled Sequencing Using Available Genotyping Data 
Journal of Computational Biology  2013;20(11):861-877.
Abstract
The recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies bring the potential of a better characterization of the genetic variation in humans and other organisms. In many occasions, either by design or by necessity, the sequencing procedure is performed on a pool of DNA samples with different abundances, where the abundance of each sample is unknown. Such a scenario is naturally occurring in the case of metagenomics analysis where a pool of bacteria is sequenced, or in the case of population studies involving DNA pools by design. Particularly, various pooling designs were recently suggested that can identify carriers of rare alleles in large cohorts, dramatically reducing the cost of such large-scale sequencing projects. A fundamental problem with such approaches for population studies is that the uncertainty of DNA proportions from different individuals in the pools might lead to spurious associations. Fortunately, it is often the case that the genotype data of at least some of the individuals in the pool is known. Here, we propose a method (eALPS) that uses the genotype data in conjunction with the pooled sequence data in order to accurately estimate the proportions of the samples in the pool, even in cases where not all individuals in the pool were genotyped (eALPS-LD). Using real data from a sequencing pooling study of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, we demonstrate that the estimation of the proportions is crucial, since otherwise there is a risk for false discoveries. Additionally, we demonstrate that our approach is also applicable to the problem of quantification of species in metagenomics samples (eALPS-BCR) and is particularly suitable for metagenomic quantification of closely related species.
doi:10.1089/cmb.2013.0105
PMCID: PMC4013753  PMID: 24144111
algorithms; alignment; cancer genomics; NP-completeness
2.  Integrating Functional Data to Prioritize Causal Variants in Statistical Fine-Mapping Studies 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(10):e1004722.
Standard statistical approaches for prioritization of variants for functional testing in fine-mapping studies either use marginal association statistics or estimate posterior probabilities for variants to be causal under simplifying assumptions. Here, we present a probabilistic framework that integrates association strength with functional genomic annotation data to improve accuracy in selecting plausible causal variants for functional validation. A key feature of our approach is that it empirically estimates the contribution of each functional annotation to the trait of interest directly from summary association statistics while allowing for multiple causal variants at any risk locus. We devise efficient algorithms that estimate the parameters of our model across all risk loci to further increase performance. Using simulations starting from the 1000 Genomes data, we find that our framework consistently outperforms the current state-of-the-art fine-mapping methods, reducing the number of variants that need to be selected to capture 90% of the causal variants from an average of 13.3 to 10.4 SNPs per locus (as compared to the next-best performing strategy). Furthermore, we introduce a cost-to-benefit optimization framework for determining the number of variants to be followed up in functional assays and assess its performance using real and simulation data. We validate our findings using a large scale meta-analysis of four blood lipids traits and find that the relative probability for causality is increased for variants in exons and transcription start sites and decreased in repressed genomic regions at the risk loci of these traits. Using these highly predictive, trait-specific functional annotations, we estimate causality probabilities across all traits and variants, reducing the size of the 90% confidence set from an average of 17.5 to 13.5 variants per locus in this data.
Author Summary
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified numerous regions in the genome that harbor genetic variants that increase risk for various complex traits and diseases. However, it is generally the case that GWAS risk variants are not themselves causally affecting the trait, but rather, are correlated to the true causal variant through linkage disequilibrium (LD). Plausible causal variants are identified in fine-mapping studies through targeted sequencing followed by prioritization of variants for functional validation. In this work, we propose methods that leverage two sources of independent information, the association strength and genomic functional location, to prioritize causal variants. We demonstrate in simulations and empirical data that our approach reduces the number of SNPs that need to be selected for follow-up to identify the true causal variants at GWAS risk loci.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004722
PMCID: PMC4214605  PMID: 25357204
3.  Leveraging reads that span multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms for haplotype inference from sequencing data 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(18):2245-2252.
Motivation: Haplotypes, defined as the sequence of alleles on one chromosome, are crucial for many genetic analyses. As experimental determination of haplotypes is extremely expensive, haplotypes are traditionally inferred using computational approaches from genotype data, i.e. the mixture of the genetic information from both haplotypes. Best performing approaches for haplotype inference rely on Hidden Markov Models, with the underlying assumption that the haplotypes of a given individual can be represented as a mosaic of segments from other haplotypes in the same population. Such algorithms use this model to predict the most likely haplotypes that explain the observed genotype data conditional on reference panel of haplotypes. With rapid advances in short read sequencing technologies, sequencing is quickly establishing as a powerful approach for collecting genetic variation information. As opposed to traditional genotyping-array technologies that independently call genotypes at polymorphic sites, short read sequencing often collects haplotypic information; a read spanning more than one polymorphic locus (multi-single nucleotide polymorphic read) contains information on the haplotype from which the read originates. However, this information is generally ignored in existing approaches for haplotype phasing and genotype-calling from short read data.
Results: In this article, we propose a novel framework for haplotype inference from short read sequencing that leverages multi-single nucleotide polymorphic reads together with a reference panel of haplotypes. The basis of our approach is a new probabilistic model that finds the most likely haplotype segments from the reference panel to explain the short read sequencing data for a given individual. We devised an efficient sampling method within a probabilistic model to achieve superior performance than existing methods. Using simulated sequencing reads from real individual genotypes in the HapMap data and the 1000 Genomes projects, we show that our method is highly accurate and computationally efficient. Our haplotype predictions improve accuracy over the basic haplotype copying model by ∼20% with comparable computational time, and over another recently proposed approach Hap-SeqX by ∼10% with significantly reduced computational time and memory usage.
Availability: Publicly available software is available at http://genetics.cs.ucla.edu/harsh
Contact: bpasaniuc@mednet.ucla.edu or eeskin@cs.ucla.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btt386
PMCID: PMC3753566  PMID: 23825370
4.  Allele-specific expression and eQTL analysis in mouse adipose tissue 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):471.
Background
The simplest definition of cis-eQTLs versus trans, refers to genetic variants that affect expression in an allele specific manner, with implications on underlying mechanism. Yet, due to technical limitations of expression microarrays, the vast majority of eQTL studies performed in the last decade used a genomic distance based definition as a surrogate for cis, therefore exploring local rather than cis-eQTLs.
Results
In this study we use RNAseq to explore allele specific expression (ASE) in adipose tissue of male and female F1 mice, produced from reciprocal crosses of C57BL/6J and DBA/2J strains. Comparison of the identified cis-eQTLs, to local-eQTLs, that were obtained from adipose tissue expression in two previous population based studies in our laboratory, yields poor overlap between the two mapping approaches, while both local-eQTL studies show highly concordant results. Specifically, local-eQTL studies show ~60% overlap between themselves, while only 15-20% of local-eQTLs are identified as cis by ASE, and less than 50% of ASE genes are recovered in local-eQTL studies. Utilizing recently published ENCODE data, we also find that ASE genes show significant bias for SNPs prevalence in DNase I hypersensitive sites that is ASE direction specific.
Conclusions
We suggest a new approach to analysis of allele specific expression that is more sensitive and accurate than the commonly used fisher or chi-square statistics. Our analysis indicates that technical differences between the cis and local-eQTL approaches, such as differences in genomic background or sex specificity, account for relatively small fraction of the discrepancy. Therefore, we suggest that the differences between two eQTL mapping approaches may facilitate sorting of SNP-eQTL interactions into true cis and trans, and that a considerable portion of local-eQTL may actually represent trans interactions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-471) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-471
PMCID: PMC4089026  PMID: 24927774
Cis; Trans; eQTL; Allele Specific Expression; Adipose; RNA-seq; DNase I hypersensitivity; DBA/2J; C57BL/6J
5.  Privacy preserving protocol for detecting genetic relatives using rare variants 
Bioinformatics  2014;30(12):i204-i211.
Motivation: High-throughput sequencing technologies have impacted many areas of genetic research. One such area is the identification of relatives from genetic data. The standard approach for the identification of genetic relatives collects the genomic data of all individuals and stores it in a database. Then, each pair of individuals is compared to detect the set of genetic relatives, and the matched individuals are informed. The main drawback of this approach is the requirement of sharing your genetic data with a trusted third party to perform the relatedness test.
Results: In this work, we propose a secure protocol to detect the genetic relatives from sequencing data while not exposing any information about their genomes. We assume that individuals have access to their genome sequences but do not want to share their genomes with anyone else. Unlike previous approaches, our approach uses both common and rare variants which provide the ability to detect much more distant relationships securely. We use a simulated data generated from the 1000 genomes data and illustrate that we can easily detect up to fifth degree cousins which was not possible using the existing methods. We also show in the 1000 genomes data with cryptic relationships that our method can detect these individuals.
Availability: The software is freely available for download at http://genetics.cs.ucla.edu/crypto/.
Contact: fhormoz@cs.ucla.edu or eeskin@cs.ucla.edu
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btu294
PMCID: PMC4058916  PMID: 24931985
6.  mrsFAST-Ultra: a compact, SNP-aware mapper for high performance sequencing applications 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(Web Server issue):W494-W500.
High throughput sequencing (HTS) platforms generate unprecedented amounts of data that introduce challenges for processing and downstream analysis. While tools that report the ‘best’ mapping location of each read provide a fast way to process HTS data, they are not suitable for many types of downstream analysis such as structural variation detection, where it is important to report multiple mapping loci for each read. For this purpose we introduce mrsFAST-Ultra, a fast, cache oblivious, SNP-aware aligner that can handle the multi-mapping of HTS reads very efficiently. mrsFAST-Ultra improves mrsFAST, our first cache oblivious read aligner capable of handling multi-mapping reads, through new and compact index structures that reduce not only the overall memory usage but also the number of CPU operations per alignment. In fact the size of the index generated by mrsFAST-Ultra is 10 times smaller than that of mrsFAST. As importantly, mrsFAST-Ultra introduces new features such as being able to (i) obtain the best mapping loci for each read, and (ii) return all reads that have at most n mapping loci (within an error threshold), together with these loci, for any user specified n. Furthermore, mrsFAST-Ultra is SNP-aware, i.e. it can map reads to reference genome while discounting the mismatches that occur at common SNP locations provided by db-SNP; this significantly increases the number of reads that can be mapped to the reference genome. Notice that all of the above features are implemented within the index structure and are not simple post-processing steps and thus are performed highly efficiently. Finally, mrsFAST-Ultra utilizes multiple available cores and processors and can be tuned for various memory settings. Our results show that mrsFAST-Ultra is roughly five times faster than its predecessor mrsFAST. In comparison to newly enhanced popular tools such as Bowtie2, it is more sensitive (it can report 10 times or more mappings per read) and much faster (six times or more) in the multi-mapping mode. Furthermore, mrsFAST-Ultra has an index size of 2GB for the entire human reference genome, which is roughly half of that of Bowtie2. mrsFAST-Ultra is open source and it can be accessed at http://mrsfast.sourceforge.net.
doi:10.1093/nar/gku370
PMCID: PMC4086126  PMID: 24810850
7.  Intergenerational genomic DNA methylation patterns in mouse hybrid strains 
Genome Biology  2014;15(5):R68.
Background
DNA methylation is a contributing factor to both rare and common human diseases, and plays a major role in development and gene silencing. While the variation of DNA methylation among individuals has been partially characterized, the degree to which methylation patterns are preserved across generations is still poorly understood. To determine the extent of methylation differences between two generations of mice we examined DNA methylation patterns in the livers of eight parental and F1 mice from C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mouse strains using bisulfite sequencing.
Results
We find a large proportion of reproducible methylation differences between C57BL/6J and DBA/2J chromosomes in CpGs, which are highly heritable between parent and F1 mice. We also find sex differences in methylation levels in 396 genes, and 11% of these are differentially expressed between females and males. Using a recently developed approach to identify allelically methylated regions independently of genotypic differences, we identify 112 novel putative imprinted genes and microRNAs, and validate imprinting at the RNA level in 10 of these genes.
Conclusions
The majority of DNA methylation differences among individuals are associated with genetic differences, and a much smaller proportion of these epigenetic differences are due to sex, imprinting or stochastic intergenerational effects. Epigenetic differences can be a determining factor in heritable traits and should be considered in association studies for molecular and clinical traits, as we observed that methylation differences in the mouse model are highly heritable and can have functional consequences on molecular traits such as gene expression.
doi:10.1186/gb-2014-15-5-r68
PMCID: PMC4076608  PMID: 24887417
8.  CNVeM: Copy Number Variation Detection Using Uncertainty of Read Mapping 
Journal of Computational Biology  2013;20(3):224-236.
Abstract
Copy number variations (CNVs) are widely known to be an important mediator for diseases and traits. The development of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies has provided great opportunities to identify CNV regions in mammalian genomes. In a typical experiment, millions of short reads obtained from a genome of interest are mapped to a reference genome. The mapping information can be used to identify CNV regions. One important challenge in analyzing the mapping information is the large fraction of reads that can be mapped to multiple positions. Most existing methods either only consider reads that can be uniquely mapped to the reference genome or randomly place a read to one of its mapping positions. Therefore, these methods have low power to detect CNVs located within repeated sequences. In this study, we propose a probabilistic model, CNVeM, that utilizes the inherent uncertainty of read mapping. We use maximum likelihood to estimate locations and copy numbers of copied regions and implement an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. One important contribution of our model is that we can distinguish between regions in the reference genome that differ from each other by as little as 0.1%. As our model aims to predict the copy number of each nucleotide, we can predict the CNV boundaries with high resolution. We apply our method to simulated datasets and achieve higher accuracy compared to CNVnator. Moreover, we apply our method to real data from which we detected known CNVs. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to predict CNVs at nucleotide resolution and to utilize uncertainty of read mapping.
doi:10.1089/cmb.2012.0258
PMCID: PMC3590897  PMID: 23421794
algorithms; next generation sequencing; statistical models; structural genomics
9.  Transcriptome-wide investigation of genomic imprinting in chicken 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(6):3768-3782.
Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism by which alleles of some specific genes are expressed in a parent-of-origin manner. It has been observed in mammals and marsupials, but not in birds. Until now, only a few genes orthologous to mammalian imprinted ones have been analyzed in chicken and did not demonstrate any evidence of imprinting in this species. However, several published observations such as imprinted-like QTL in poultry or reciprocal effects keep the question open. Our main objective was thus to screen the entire chicken genome for parental-allele-specific differential expression on whole embryonic transcriptomes, using high-throughput sequencing. To identify the parental origin of each observed haplotype, two chicken experimental populations were used, as inbred and as genetically distant as possible. Two families were produced from two reciprocal crosses. Transcripts from 20 embryos were sequenced using NGS technology, producing ∼200 Gb of sequences. This allowed the detection of 79 potentially imprinted SNPs, through an analysis method that we validated by detecting imprinting from mouse data already published. However, out of 23 candidates tested by pyrosequencing, none could be confirmed. These results come together, without a priori, with previous statements and phylogenetic considerations assessing the absence of genomic imprinting in chicken.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1390
PMCID: PMC3973300  PMID: 24452801
10.  Genome Sequencing Highlights the Dynamic Early History of Dogs 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004016.
To identify genetic changes underlying dog domestication and reconstruct their early evolutionary history, we generated high-quality genome sequences from three gray wolves, one from each of the three putative centers of dog domestication, two basal dog lineages (Basenji and Dingo) and a golden jackal as an outgroup. Analysis of these sequences supports a demographic model in which dogs and wolves diverged through a dynamic process involving population bottlenecks in both lineages and post-divergence gene flow. In dogs, the domestication bottleneck involved at least a 16-fold reduction in population size, a much more severe bottleneck than estimated previously. A sharp bottleneck in wolves occurred soon after their divergence from dogs, implying that the pool of diversity from which dogs arose was substantially larger than represented by modern wolf populations. We narrow the plausible range for the date of initial dog domestication to an interval spanning 11–16 thousand years ago, predating the rise of agriculture. In light of this finding, we expand upon previous work regarding the increase in copy number of the amylase gene (AMY2B) in dogs, which is believed to have aided digestion of starch in agricultural refuse. We find standing variation for amylase copy number variation in wolves and little or no copy number increase in the Dingo and Husky lineages. In conjunction with the estimated timing of dog origins, these results provide additional support to archaeological finds, suggesting the earliest dogs arose alongside hunter-gathers rather than agriculturists. Regarding the geographic origin of dogs, we find that, surprisingly, none of the extant wolf lineages from putative domestication centers is more closely related to dogs, and, instead, the sampled wolves form a sister monophyletic clade. This result, in combination with dog-wolf admixture during the process of domestication, suggests that a re-evaluation of past hypotheses regarding dog origins is necessary.
Author Summary
The process of dog domestication is still poorly understood, largely because no studies thus far have leveraged deeply sequenced whole genomes from wolves and dogs to simultaneously evaluate support for the proposed source regions: East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. To investigate dog origins, we sequence three wolf genomes from the putative centers of origin, two basal dog breeds (Basenji and Dingo), and a golden jackal as an outgroup. We find that none of the wolf lineages from the hypothesized domestication centers is supported as the source lineage for dogs, and that dogs and wolves diverged 11,000–16,000 years ago in a process involving extensive admixture and that was followed by a bottleneck in wolves. In addition, we investigate the amylase (AMY2B) gene family expansion in dogs, which has recently been suggested as being critical to domestication in response to increased dietary starch. We find standing variation in AMY2B copy number in wolves and show that some breeds, such as Dingo and Husky, lack the AMY2B expansion. This suggests that, at the beginning of the domestication process, dogs may have been characterized by a more carnivorous diet than their modern day counterparts, a diet held in common with early hunter-gatherers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004016
PMCID: PMC3894170  PMID: 24453982
11.  Accelerating read mapping with FastHASH 
BMC Genomics  2013;14(Suppl 1):S13.
With the introduction of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, we are facing an exponential increase in the amount of genomic sequence data. The success of all medical and genetic applications of next-generation sequencing critically depends on the existence of computational techniques that can process and analyze the enormous amount of sequence data quickly and accurately. Unfortunately, the current read mapping algorithms have difficulties in coping with the massive amounts of data generated by NGS.
We propose a new algorithm, FastHASH, which drastically improves the performance of the seed-and-extend type hash table based read mapping algorithms, while maintaining the high sensitivity and comprehensiveness of such methods. FastHASH is a generic algorithm compatible with all seed-and-extend class read mapping algorithms. It introduces two main techniques, namely Adjacency Filtering, and Cheap K-mer Selection.
We implemented FastHASH and merged it into the codebase of the popular read mapping program, mrFAST. Depending on the edit distance cutoffs, we observed up to 19-fold speedup while still maintaining 100% sensitivity and high comprehensiveness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-S1-S13
PMCID: PMC3549798  PMID: 23369189
12.  Sensitive and fast mapping of di-base encoded reads 
Bioinformatics  2011;28(1):150.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr647
PMCID: PMC3276229
13.  Sensitive and fast mapping of di-base encoded reads 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(14):1915-1921.
Motivation: Discovering variation among high-throughput sequenced genomes relies on efficient and effective mapping of sequence reads. The speed, sensitivity and accuracy of read mapping are crucial to determining the full spectrum of single nucleotide variants (SNVs) as well as structural variants (SVs) in the donor genomes analyzed.
Results: We present drFAST, a read mapper designed for di-base encoded ‘color-space’ sequences generated with the AB SOLiD platform. drFAST is specially designed for better delineation of structural variants, including segmental duplications, and is able to return all possible map locations and underlying sequence variation of short reads within a user-specified distance threshold. We show that drFAST is more sensitive in comparison to all commonly used aligners such as Bowtie, BFAST and SHRiMP. drFAST is also faster than both BFAST and SHRiMP and achieves a mapping speed comparable to Bowtie.
Availability: The source code for drFAST is available at http://drfast.sourceforge.net
Contact: calkan@u.washington.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr303
PMCID: PMC3129524  PMID: 21586516
14.  Efficient algorithms for tandem copy number variation reconstruction in repeat-rich regions 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(11):1513-1520.
Motivation: Structural variations and in particular copy number variations (CNVs) have dramatic effects of disease and traits. Technologies for identifying CNVs have been an active area of research for over 10 years. The current generation of high-throughput sequencing techniques presents new opportunities for identification of CNVs. Methods that utilize these technologies map sequencing reads to a reference genome and look for signatures which might indicate the presence of a CNV. These methods work well when CNVs lie within unique genomic regions. However, the problem of CNV identification and reconstruction becomes much more challenging when CNVs are in repeat-rich regions, due to the multiple mapping positions of the reads.
Results: In this study, we propose an efficient algorithm to handle these multi-mapping reads such that the CNVs can be reconstructed with high accuracy even for repeat-rich regions. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to both identify and reconstruct CNVs in repeat-rich regions. Our experiments show that our method is not only computationally efficient but also accurate.
Contact: eeskin@cs.ucla.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr169
PMCID: PMC3102223  PMID: 21505028
15.  Assembly of non-unique insertion content using next-generation sequencing 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12(Suppl 6):S3.
Recent studies in genomics have highlighted the significance of sequence insertions in determining individual variation. Efforts to discover the content of these sequence insertions have been limited to short insertions and long unique insertions. Much of the inserted sequence in the typical human genome, however, is a mixture of repeated and unique sequence. Current methods are designed to assemble only unique sequence insertions, using reads that do not map to the reference. These methods are not able to assemble repeated sequence insertions, as the reads will map to the reference in a different locus.
In this paper, we present a computational method for discovering the content of sequence insertions that are unique, repeated, or a combination of the two. Our method analyzes the read mappings and depth of coverage of paired-end reads to identify reads that originated from inserted sequence. We demonstrate the process of assembling these reads to characterize the insertion content. Our method is based on the idea of segment extension, which progressively extends segments of known content using paired-end reads. We apply our method in simulation to discover the content of inserted sequences in a modified mouse chromosome and show that our method produces reliable results at 40x coverage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-S6-S3
PMCID: PMC3194191  PMID: 21989261

Results 1-16 (16)