Robust identification of deletions in exome and genome sequence data based on clustering of Mendelian errors

Kathryn B. Manheimer, Nihir Patel, Felix Richter, Joshua Gorham, Angela C. Tai, Jason Homsy, Marko T. Boskovski, Michael Parfenov, Elizabeth Goldmuntz, Wendy K. Chung, Martina Brueckner, Martin Tristani-Firouzi, Deepak Srivastava, Jonathan G. Seidman, Christine E. Seidman, Bruce D. Gelb, Andrew J. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Multiple tools have been developed to identify copy number variants (CNVs) from whole exome (WES) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) data. Current tools such as XHMM for WES and CNVnator for WGS identify CNVs based on changes in read depth. For WGS, other methods to identify CNVs include utilizing discordant read pairs and split reads and genome-wide local assembly with tools such as Lumpy and SvABA, respectively. Here, we introduce a new method to identify deletion CNVs from WES and WGS trio data based on the clustering of Mendelian errors (MEs). Using our Mendelian Error Method (MEM), we identified 127 deletions (inherited and de novo) in 2,601 WES trios from the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium, with a validation rate of 88% by digital droplet PCR. MEM identified additional de novo deletions compared with XHMM, and a significant enrichment of 15q11.2 deletions compared with controls. In addition, MEM identified eight cases of uniparental disomy, sample switches, and DNA contamination. We applied MEM to WGS data from the Genome In A Bottle Ashkenazi trio and identified deletions with 97% specificity. MEM provides a robust, computationally inexpensive method for identifying deletions, and an orthogonal approach for verifying deletions called by other tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-881
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Mutation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • UPD
  • copy number variant identification
  • whole exome sequencing
  • whole genome sequencing


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