Oct 25, 2018

Detection of low-density Plasmodium falciparum infections using amplicon deep sequencing

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Angela M. EarlyDaniel E. Neafsey


Background: Deep sequencing of targeted genomic regions is becoming a common tool for understanding the dynamics and complexity of Plasmodium infections, but its lower limit of detection is currently unknown. Here, a new amplicon analysis tool, the Parallel Amplicon Sequencing Error Correction (PASEC) pipeline, is used to evaluate the performance of amplicon sequencing on low-density Plasmodium DNA samples. Illumina-based sequencing of two P. falciparum genomic regions (CSP and SERA2) was performed on two types of samples: in vitro DNA mixtures mimicking low-density infections (1-200 genomes/μl) and extracted blood spots from a combination of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals (44-653,080 parasites/μl). Three additional analysis tools-DADA2, HaplotypR, and SeekDeep-were applied to both datasets and the precision and sensitivity of each tool were evaluated. Results: Amplicon sequencing can contend with low-density samples, showing reasonable detection accuracy down to a concentration of 5 Plasmodium genomes/μl. Due to increased stochasticity and background noise, however, all four tools showed reduced sensitivity and precision on samples with very low parasitemia (<5 copies/μl) or low read count (<100 reads per amplicon). ...Continue Reading

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