Detecting false-positive signals in exome sequencing

Karin V. Fuentes Fajardo, David Adams, Christopher E. Mason, Murat Sincan, Cynthia Tifft, Camilo Toro, Cornelius F. Boerkoel, William Gahl, Thomas Markello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Disease gene discovery has been transformed by affordable sequencing of exomes and genomes. Identification of disease-causing mutations requires sifting through a large number of sequence variants. A subset of the variants are unlikely to be good candidates for disease causation based on one or more of the following criteria: (1) being located in genomic regions known to be highly polymorphic, (2) having characteristics suggesting assembly misalignment, and/or (3) being labeled as variants based on misleading reference genome information. We analyzed exome sequence data from 118 individuals in 29 families seen in the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) to create lists of variants and genes with these characteristics. Specifically, we identified several groups of genes that are candidates for provisional exclusion during exome analysis: 23,389 positions with excess heterozygosity suggestive of alignment errors and 1,009 positions in which the hg18 human genome reference sequence appeared to contain a minor allele. Exclusion of such variants, which we provide in supplemental lists, will likely enhance identification of disease-causing mutations using exome sequence data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-613
Number of pages5
JournalHuman mutation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alignment errors
  • Exome sequencing
  • False positives
  • Genomics
  • Illumina
  • Inherited disease
  • Next generation sequencing
  • Sequencing errors
  • SureSelect Human All Exon
  • WES

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting false-positive signals in exome sequencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this