Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies are frequently focused on the analysis of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is much more abundant than the nuclear genome, hence can be better retrieved from ancient remains. However, postmortem DNA damage and contamination make the data analysis difficult because of DNA fragmentation and nucleotide alterations. In this regard, the assessment of the heteroplasmic fraction in ancient mtDNA has always been considered an unachievable goal due to the complexity in distinguishing true endogenous variants from artifacts. We implemented and applied a computational pipeline for mtDNA analysis to a dataset of 30 ancient human samples from an Iron Age necropolis in Polizzello (Sicily, Italy). The pipeline includes several modules from well-established tools for aDNA analysis and a recently released variant caller, which was specifically conceived for mtDNA, applied for the first time to aDNA data. Through a fine-tuned filtering on variant allele sequencing features, we were able to accurately reconstruct nearly complete (>88%) mtDNA genome for almost all the analyzed samples (27 out of 30), depending on the degree of preservation and the sequencing throughput, and to get a reliable set of variants allowing haplogroup prediction. Additionally, we provide guidelines to deal with possible artifact sources, including nuclear mitochondrial sequence (NumtS) contamination, an often-neglected issue in ancient mtDNA surveys. Potential heteroplasmy levels were also estimated, although most variants were likely homoplasmic, and validated by data simulations, proving that new sequencing technologies and software are sensitive enough to detect partially mutated sites in ancient genomes and discriminate true variants from artifacts. A thorough functional annotation of detected and filtered mtDNA variants was also performed for a comprehensive evaluation of these ancient samples.

Maria Angela Diroma, A.M. (2021). New Insights Into Mitochondrial DNA Reconstruction and Variant Detection in Ancient Samples. FRONTIERS IN GENETICS, 12, 1-20 [10.3389/fgene.2021.619950].

New Insights Into Mitochondrial DNA Reconstruction and Variant Detection in Ancient Samples.

Luca Sineo
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2021

Abstract

Ancient DNA (aDNA) studies are frequently focused on the analysis of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is much more abundant than the nuclear genome, hence can be better retrieved from ancient remains. However, postmortem DNA damage and contamination make the data analysis difficult because of DNA fragmentation and nucleotide alterations. In this regard, the assessment of the heteroplasmic fraction in ancient mtDNA has always been considered an unachievable goal due to the complexity in distinguishing true endogenous variants from artifacts. We implemented and applied a computational pipeline for mtDNA analysis to a dataset of 30 ancient human samples from an Iron Age necropolis in Polizzello (Sicily, Italy). The pipeline includes several modules from well-established tools for aDNA analysis and a recently released variant caller, which was specifically conceived for mtDNA, applied for the first time to aDNA data. Through a fine-tuned filtering on variant allele sequencing features, we were able to accurately reconstruct nearly complete (>88%) mtDNA genome for almost all the analyzed samples (27 out of 30), depending on the degree of preservation and the sequencing throughput, and to get a reliable set of variants allowing haplogroup prediction. Additionally, we provide guidelines to deal with possible artifact sources, including nuclear mitochondrial sequence (NumtS) contamination, an often-neglected issue in ancient mtDNA surveys. Potential heteroplasmy levels were also estimated, although most variants were likely homoplasmic, and validated by data simulations, proving that new sequencing technologies and software are sensitive enough to detect partially mutated sites in ancient genomes and discriminate true variants from artifacts. A thorough functional annotation of detected and filtered mtDNA variants was also performed for a comprehensive evaluation of these ancient samples.
Settore BIO/08 - Antropologia
Maria Angela Diroma, A.M. (2021). New Insights Into Mitochondrial DNA Reconstruction and Variant Detection in Ancient Samples. FRONTIERS IN GENETICS, 12, 1-20 [10.3389/fgene.2021.619950].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/502826
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