Technical considerations for genotyping multi-allelic copy number variation (CNV), in regions of segmental duplication

Stuart Cantsilieris, Patrick Stephen Western, Paul N Baird, Stefan White

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    Intrachromosomal segmental duplications provide the substrate for non-allelic homologous recombination, facilitating extensive copy number variation in the human genome. Many multi-copy gene families are embedded within genomic regions with high levels of sequence identity (>95 ) and therefore pose considerable analytical challenges. In some cases, the complexity involved in analyzing such regions is largely underestimated. Rapid, cost effective analysis of multi-copy gene regions have typically implemented quantitative approaches, however quantitative data are not an absolute means of certainty. Therefore any technique prone to degrees of measurement error can produce ambiguous results that may lead to spurious associations with complex disease. RESULTS: In this study we have focused on testing the accuracy and reproducibility of quantitative analysis techniques. With reference to the C-C Chemokine Ligand-3-like-1 (CCL3L1) gene, we performed analysis using real-time Quantitative PCR (QPCR), Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) and Paralogue Ratio Test (PRT). After controlling for potential outside variables on assay performance, including DNA concentration, quality, preparation and storage conditions, we find that real-time QPCR produces data that does not cluster tightly around copy number integer values, with variation substantially greater than that of the MLPA or PRT systems. We find that the method of rounding real-time QPCR measurements can potentially lead to mis-scoring of copy number genotypes and suggest caution should be exercised in interpreting QPCR data. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that real-time QPCR is inherently prone to measurement error, even under conditions that would seem favorable for association studies. Our results indicate that potential variability in the physicochemical properties of the DNA samples cannot solely explain the poor performance exhibited by the real-time QPCR systems. We recommend that more robus
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1 - 8
    Number of pages8
    JournalBMC Genomics
    Issue numberArt. ID: 329
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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