Recovery of non-reference sequences missing from the human reference genome


Background: The non-reference sequences (NRS) represent structure variations in human genome with potential functional significance. However, besides the known insertions, it is currently unknown whether other types of structure variations with NRS exist. Results: Here, we compared 31 human de novo assemblies with the current reference genome to identify the NRS and their location. We resolved the precise location of 6113 NRS adding up to 12.8 Mb. Besides 1571 insertions, we detected 3041 alternate alleles, which were defined as having less than 90% (or none) identity with the reference alleles. These alternate alleles overlapped with 1143 protein-coding genes including a putative novel MHC haplotype. Further, we demonstrated that the alternate alleles and their flanking regions had high content of tandem repeats, indicating that their origin was associated with tandem repeats. Conclusions: Our study detected a large number of NRS including many alternate alleles which are previously uncharacterized. We suggested that the origin of alternate alleles was associated with tandem repeats. Our results enriched the spectrum of genetic variations in human genome.

Publication Title

BMC Genomics