Leveraging Identity-by-Descent for Accurate Genotype Inference in Family Sequencing Data

Bingshan Li, Qiang Wei, Xiaowei Zhan, Xue Zhong, Wei Chen, Chun Li, Jonathan Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Sequencing family DNA samples provides an attractive alternative to population based designs to identify rare variants associated with human disease due to the enrichment of causal variants in pedigrees. Previous studies showed that genotype calling accuracy can be improved by modeling family relatedness compared to standard calling algorithms. Current family-based variant calling methods use sequencing data on single variants and ignore the identity-by-descent (IBD) sharing along the genome. In this study we describe a new computational framework to accurately estimate the IBD sharing from the sequencing data, and to utilize the inferred IBD among family members to jointly call genotypes in pedigrees. Through simulations and application to real data, we showed that IBD can be reliably estimated across the genome, even at very low coverage (e.g. 2X), and genotype accuracy can be dramatically improved. Moreover, the improvement is more pronounced for variants with low frequencies, especially at low to intermediate coverage (e.g. 10X to 20X), making our approach effective in studying rare variants in cost-effective whole genome sequencing in pedigrees. We hope that our tool is useful to the research community for identifying rare variants for human disease through family-based sequencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1005271
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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