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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 28;6(1):e16607. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016607.

Large scale loss of data in low-diversity illumina sequencing libraries can be recovered by deferred cluster calling.

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Bioinformatics Group, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Massively parallel DNA sequencing is capable of sequencing tens of millions of DNA fragments at the same time. However, sequence bias in the initial cycles, which are used to determine the coordinates of individual clusters, causes a loss of fidelity in cluster identification on Illumina Genome Analysers. This can result in a significant reduction in the numbers of clusters that can be analysed. Such low sample diversity is an intrinsic problem of sequencing libraries that are generated by restriction enzyme digestion, such as e4C-seq or reduced-representation libraries. Similarly, this problem can also arise through the combined sequencing of barcoded, multiplexed libraries. We describe a procedure to defer the mapping of cluster coordinates until low-diversity sequences have been passed. This simple procedure can recover substantial amounts of next generation sequencing data that would otherwise be lost.

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