Barnacle: Detecting and characterizing tandem duplications and fusions in transcriptome assemblies
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Background: Chimeric transcripts, including partial and internal tandem duplications (PTDs, ITDs) and gene fusions, are important in the detection, prognosis, and treatment of human cancers.Results: We describe Barnacle, a production-grade analysis tool that detects such chimeras in de novo assemblies of RNA-seq data, and supports prioritizing them for review and validation by reporting the relative coverage of co-occurring chimeric and wild-type transcripts. We demonstrate applications in large-scale disease studies, by identifying PTDs in MLL, ITDs in FLT3, and reciprocal fusions between PML and RARA, in two deeply sequenced acute myeloid leukemia (AML) RNA-seq datasets.Conclusions: Our analyses of real and simulated data sets show that, with appropriate filter settings, Barnacle makes highly specific predictions for three types of chimeric transcripts that are important in a range of cancers: PTDs, ITDs, and fusions. High specificity makes manual review and validation efficient, which is necessary in large-scale disease studies. Characterizing an extended range of chimera types will help generate insights into progression, treatment, and outcomes for complex diseases. © 2013 Swanson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This open access article is distributed under the Creative Commons license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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