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  1. Abstract Background Every tumor is composed of heterogeneous clones, each corresponding to a distinct subpopulation of cells that accumulated different types of somatic mutations, ranging from single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) to copy-number aberrations (CNAs). As the analysis of this intra-tumor heterogeneity has important clinical applications, several computational methods have been introduced to identify clones from DNA sequencing data. However, due to technological and methodological limitations, current analyses are restricted to identifying tumor clones only based on either SNVs or CNAs, preventing a comprehensive characterization of a tumor’s clonal composition. Results To overcome these challenges, we formulate the identification of clones in terms of both SNVs and CNAs as a integration problem while accounting for uncertainty in the input SNV and CNA proportions. We thus characterize the computational complexity of this problem and we introduce PACTION (PArsimonious Clone Tree integratION), an algorithm that solves the problem using a mixed integer linear programming formulation. On simulated data, we show that tumor clones can be identified reliably, especially when further taking into account the ancestral relationships that can be inferred from the input SNVs and CNAs. On 49 tumor samples from 10 prostate cancer patients, our integration approach provides a higher resolution view of tumor evolution than previous studies. Conclusion PACTION is an accurate and fast method that reconstructs clonal architecture of cancer tumors by integrating SNV and CNA clones inferred using existing methods. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Przytycka, Teresa M. (Ed.)
    Copy-number aberrations (CNAs) are genetic alterations that amplify or delete the number of copies of large genomic segments. Although they are ubiquitous in cancer and, thus, a critical area of current cancer research, CNA identification from DNA sequencing data is challenging because it requires partitioning of the genome into complex segments with the same copy-number states that may not be contiguous. Existing segmentation algorithms address these challenges either by leveraging the local information among neighboring genomic regions, or by globally grouping genomic regions that are affected by similar CNAs across the entire genome. However, both approaches have limitations: overclustering in the case of local segmentation, or the omission of clusters corresponding to focal CNAs in the case of global segmentation. Importantly, inaccurate segmentation will lead to inaccurate identification of CNAs. For this reason, most pan-cancer research studies rely on manual procedures of quality control and anomaly correction. To improve copy-number segmentation, we introduce CNAV iz , a web-based tool that enables the user to simultaneously perform local and global segmentation, thus overcoming the limitations of each approach. Using simulated data, we demonstrate that by several metrics, CNAV iz allows the user to obtain more accurate segmentation relative to existing local and global segmentation methods. Moreover, we analyze six bulk DNA sequencing samples from three breast cancer patients. By validating with parallel single-cell DNA sequencing data from the same samples, we show that by using CNAV iz , our user was able to obtain more accurate segmentation and improved accuracy in downstream copy-number calling. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2023
  3. Elkins, Christopher A. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Monitoring the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants is necessary to make informed public health decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. PCR assays have received global attention, facilitating a rapid understanding of variant dynamics because they are more accessible and scalable than genome sequencing. However, as PCR assays target only a few mutations, their accuracy could be reduced when these mutations are not exclusive to the target variants. Here we introduce PRIMES, an algorithm that evaluates the sensitivity and specificity of SARS-CoV-2 variant-specific PCR assays across different geographical regions by incorporating sequences deposited in the GISAID database. Using PRIMES, we determined that the accuracy of several PCR assays decreased when applied beyond the geographic scope of the study in which the assays were developed. Subsequently, we used this tool to design Alpha and Delta variant-specific PCR assays for samples from Illinois, USA. In silico analysis using PRIMES determined the sensitivity/specificity to be 0.99/0.99 for the Alpha variant-specific PCR assay and 0.98/1.00 for the Delta variant-specific PCR assay in Illinois, respectively. We applied these two variant-specific PCR assays to six local sewage samples and determined the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant of either the wild type, the Alpha variant, or the Delta variant. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the spike (S) gene amplicons of the Delta variant-dominant samples, we found six mutations exclusive to the Delta variant (S:T19R, S:Δ156/157, S:L452R, S:T478K, S:P681R, and S:D950N). The consistency between the variant-specific PCR assays and the NGS results supports the applicability of PRIMES. IMPORTANCE Monitoring the introduction and prevalence of variants of concern (VOCs) and variants of interest (VOIs) in a community can help the local authorities make informed public health decisions. PCR assays can be designed to keep track of SARS-CoV-2 variants by measuring unique mutation markers that are exclusive to the target variants. However, the mutation markers may not be exclusive to the target variants because of regional and temporal differences in variant dynamics. We introduce PRIMES, an algorithm that enables the design of reliable PCR assays for variant detection. Because PCR is more accessible, scalable, and robust for sewage samples than sequencing technology, our findings will contribute to improving global SARS-CoV-2 variant surveillance. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Motivation While single-cell DNA sequencing (scDNA-seq) has enabled the study of intratumor heterogeneity at an unprecedented resolution, current technologies are error-prone and often result in doublets where two or more cells are mistaken for a single cell. Not only do doublets confound downstream analyses, but the increase in doublet rate is also a major bottleneck preventing higher throughput with current single-cell technologies. Although doublet detection and removal are standard practice in scRNA-seq data analysis, options for scDNA-seq data are limited. Current methods attempt to detect doublets while also performing complex downstream analyses tasks, leading to decreased efficiency and/or performance. Results We present doubletD, the first standalone method for detecting doublets in scDNA-seq data. Underlying our method is a simple maximum likelihood approach with a closed-form solution. We demonstrate the performance of doubletD on simulated data as well as real datasets, outperforming current methods for downstream analysis of scDNA-seq data that jointly infer doublets as well as standalone approaches for doublet detection in scRNA-seq data. Incorporating doubletD in scDNA-seq analysis pipelines will reduce complexity and lead to more accurate results. Availability and implementation Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. 
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