A family-based probabilistic method for capturing de novo mutations from high-throughput short-read sequencing data

Reed A. Cartwright, Julie Hussin, Jonathan E M Keebler, Eric A. Stone, Philip Awadalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Recent advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies and associated statistical analyses have enabled in-depth analysis of whole-genome sequences. As this technology is applied to a growing number of individual human genomes, entire families are now being sequenced. Information contained within the pedigree of a sequenced family can be leveraged when inferring the donors' genotypes. The presence of a de novo mutation within the pedigree is indicated by a violation of Mendelian inheritance laws. Here, we present a method for probabilistically inferring genotypes across a pedigree using high-throughput sequencing data and producing the posterior probability of de novo mutation at each genomic site examined. This framework can be used to disentangle the effects of germline and somatic mutational processes and to simultaneously estimate the effect of sequencing error and the initial genetic variation in the population from which the founders of the pedigree arise. This approach is examined in detail through simulations and areas for method improvement are noted. By applying this method to data from members of a welldefined nuclear family with accurate pedigree information, the stage is set to make the most direct estimates of the human mutation rate to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalStatistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 7 2012



  • De novo mutations
  • Mutation rates
  • Pedigree
  • Short-read data
  • Trio model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Computational Mathematics

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