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Characterizing polymorphic inversions in human genomes by single cell sequencing
Sanders AD, Hills M, Porubský D, Guryev V, Falconer E, Lansdorp PM.
Genome Res. 2016 Jul 29. pii: gr.201160.115. [Epub ahead of print]
Identifying genomic features that differ between individuals and cells can help uncover the functional variants that drive phenotypes and disease susceptibilities. For this, single cell studies are paramount, as it becomes increasingly clear that the contribution of rare but functional cellular subpopulations is important for disease prognosis, management and progression. Until now, studying these associations has been challenged by our inability to map structural rearrangements accurately and comprehensively. To overcome this, we coupled single-cell sequencing of DNA template strands (Strand-seq) with custom analysis software to rapidly discover, map and genotype genomic rearrangements at high-resolution. This allowed us to explore the distribution and frequency of inversions in a heterogeneous cell population, identify several polymorphic domains in complex regions of the genome, and locate rare alleles in the reference assembly. We then mapped the entire genomic complement of inversions within two unrelated individuals to characterize their distinct ‘invertomes’ and build a non-redundant global reference of structural rearrangements in the human genome. The work described here provides a powerful new framework to study structural variation and genomic heterogeneity in single cell samples, whether from individuals for population studies, or tissue types for biomarker discovery.