BACKGROUND - Exome sequencing using next-generation sequencing technologies is a cost efficient approach to selectively sequencing coding regions of human genome for detection of disease variants. A significant amount of DNA fragments from the capture process fall outside target regions, and sequence data for positions outside target regions have been mostly ignored after alignment.
RESULT - We performed whole exome sequencing on 22 subjects using Agilent SureSelect capture reagent and 6 subjects using Illumina TrueSeq capture reagent. We also downloaded sequencing data for 6 subjects from the 1000 Genomes Project Pilot 3 study. Using these data, we examined the quality of SNPs detected outside target regions by computing consistency rate with genotypes obtained from SNP chips or the Hapmap database, transition-transversion (Ti/Tv) ratio, and percentage of SNPs inside dbSNP. For all three platforms, we obtained high-quality SNPs outside target regions, and some far from target regions. In our Agilent SureSelect data, we obtained 84,049 high-quality SNPs outside target regions compared to 65,231 SNPs inside target regions (a 129% increase). For our Illumina TrueSeq data, we obtained 222,171 high-quality SNPs outside target regions compared to 95,818 SNPs inside target regions (a 232% increase). For the data from the 1000 Genomes Project, we obtained 7,139 high-quality SNPs outside target regions compared to 1,548 SNPs inside target regions (a 461% increase).
CONCLUSIONS - These results demonstrate that a significant amount of high quality genotypes outside target regions can be obtained from exome sequencing data. These data should not be ignored in genetic epidemiology studies.