Stat Appl Genet Mol Biol 2011 Nov 8;10(1). Epub 2011 Nov 8.
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics.
Varying depth of high-throughput sequencing reads along a chromosome makes it possible to observe copy number variants (CNVs) in a sample relative to a reference. In exome and other targeted sequencing projects, technical factors increase variation in read depth while reducing the number of observed locations, adding difficulty to the problem of identifying CNVs. We present a hidden Markov model for detecting CNVs from raw read count data, using background read depth from a control set as well as other positional covariates such as GC-content. The model, exomeCopy, is applied to a large chromosome X exome sequencing project identifying a list of large unique CNVs. CNVs predicted by the model and experimentally validated are then recovered using a cross-platform control set from publicly available exome sequencing data. Simulations show high sensitivity for detecting heterozygous and homozygous CNVs, outperforming normalization and state-of-the-art segmentation methods.