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Harvesting information from ultra-short ancient DNA sequences

发表于 2018-5-26 01:23 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 Ryan 于 2018-5-26 15:36 编辑


Harvesting information from ultra-short ancient DNA sequences        Cesare de Filippo, Matthias Meyer, Kay Pruefer

The study of ancient DNA is hampered by degradation, resulting in short DNA fragments. Advances in laboratory methods have made it possible to retrieve short DNA fragments, thereby improving access to DNA preserved in highly degraded, ancient material. However, such material contains large amounts of microbial contamination in addition to DNA fragments from the ancient organism. The resulting mixture of sequences constitute a challenge for computational analysis, since microbial sequences are hard to distinguish from the ancient sequences of interest, especially when they are short. Here, we develop a method to quantify spurious alignments based on the presence or absence of rare variants. We find that spurious alignments are enriched for mismatches and insertion/deletion differences and lack substitution patterns typical of ancient DNA. The impact of spurious alignments can be reduced by filtering on these features and by imposing a sample-specific minimum length cutoff. We apply this approach to sequences from the ~430,000 year-old Sima de los Huesos hominin remains, which contain particularly short DNA fragments, and increase the amount of usable sequence data by 17-150%. This allows us to place a third specimen from the site on the Neandertal lineage. Our method maximizes the sequence data amenable to genetic analysis from highly degraded ancient material and avoids pitfalls that are associated with the analysis of ultra-short DNA sequences.
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