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Genome Res. 1998 Mar;8(3):251-9.

Estimation of errors in "raw" DNA sequences: a validation study.

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  • 1Genome Therapeutics Corp., Waltham, Massachusetts 02154, USA.


As DNA sequencing is performed more and more in a mass-production-like manner, efficient quality control measures become increasingly important for process control, but so also does the ability to compare different methods and projects. One of the fundamental quality measures in sequencing projects is the position-specific error probability at all bases in each individual sequence. Accurate prediction of base-specific error rates from "raw" sequence data would allow immediate quality control as well as benchmarking different methods and projects while avoiding the inefficiencies and time delays associated with resequencing and assessments after "finishing" a sequence. The program PHRED provides base-specific quality scores that are logarythmically related to error probabilities. This study assessed the accuracy of PHRED's error-rate prediction by analyzing sequencing projects from six different large-scale sequencing laboratories. All projects used four-color fluorescent sequencing, but the sequencing methods used varied widely between the different projects. The results indicate that the error-rate predictions such as those given by PHRED can be highly accurate for a large variety of different sequencing methods as well as over a wide range of sequence quality.

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