Comparison of mitochondrial DNA sequences from whole blood and lymphoblastoid cell lines

Chunyu Liu, Jessica L. Fetterman, Xianbang Sun, Kaiyu Yan, Poching Liu, Yan Luo, Jun Ding, Jun Zhu, Daniel Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) provide an unlimited source of genomic DNA for genetic studies. Here, we compared mtDNA sequence variants, heteroplasmic or homplasmic, between LCL (sequenced by mitoRCA-seq method) and whole blood samples (sequenced through whole genome sequencing approach) of the same 130 participants in the Framingham Heart Study. We applied harmonization of sequence coverages and consistent quality control to mtDNA sequences. We identified 866 variation sites in the 130 LCL samples and 666 sites in the 130 blood samples. More than 94% of the identified homoplasmies were present in both LCL and blood samples while more than 70% of heteroplasmic sites were uniquely present either in LCL or in blood samples. The LCL and whole blood samples carried a similar number of homoplasmic variants (p = 0.45) per sample while the LCL carried a greater number of heteroplasmic variants than whole blood per sample (p < 2.2e−16). Furthermore, the LCL samples tended to accumulate low level heteroplasmies (heteroplasmy level in 3–25%) than their paired blood samples (p = 0.001). These results suggest that cautions should be taken in the interpretation and comparison of findings when different tissues/cell types or different sequencing technologies are applied to obtain mtDNA sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1801
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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