Jun 11, 2016

Evaluation of microRNA alignment techniques

Mark ZiemannAssam El-Osta


Genomic alignment of small RNA (smRNA) sequences such as microRNAs poses considerable challenges due to their short length (∼21 nucleotides [nt]) as well as the large size and complexity of plant and animal genomes. While several tools have been developed for high-throughput mapping of longer mRNA-seq reads (>30 nt), there are few that are specifically designed for mapping of smRNA reads including microRNAs. The accuracy of these mappers has not been systematically determined in the case of smRNA-seq. In addition, it is unknown whether these aligners accurately map smRNA reads containing sequence errors and polymorphisms. By using simulated read sets, we determine the alignment sensitivity and accuracy of 16 short-read mappers and quantify their robustness to mismatches, indels, and nontemplated nucleotide additions. These were explored in the context of a plant genome (Oryza sativa, ∼500 Mbp) and a mammalian genome (Homo sapiens, ∼3.1 Gbp). Analysis of simulated and real smRNA-seq data demonstrates that mapper selection impacts differential expression results and interpretation. These results will inform on best practice for smRNA mapping and enable more accurate smRNA detection and quantification of expression and RNA editing.

  • References61
  • Citations14


Mentioned in this Paper

Gene Polymorphism
Small Nuclear RNA
Oryza sativa
RNA, Small Temporal
RNA Editing
High Throughput Analysis

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