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Equivalent indels--ambiguous functional classes and redundancy in databases.

By Jens Assmus, Jürgen Kleffe, Armin O Schmitt and Gudrun A Brockmann


There is considerable interest in studying sequenced variations. However, while the positions of substitutions are uniquely identifiable by sequence alignment, the location of insertions and deletions still poses problems. Each insertion and deletion causes a change of sequence. Yet, due to low complexity or repetitive sequence structures, the same indel can sometimes be annotated in different ways. Two indels which differ in allele sequence and position can be one and the same, i.e. the alternative sequence of the whole chromosome is identical in both cases and, therefore, the two deletions are biologically equivalent. In such a case, it is impossible to identify the exact position of an indel merely based on sequence alignment. Thus, variation entries in a mutation database are not necessarily uniquely defined. We prove the existence of a contiguous region around an indel in which all deletions of the same length are biologically identical. Databases often show only one of several possible locations for a given variation. Furthermore, different data base entries can represent equivalent variation events. We identified 1,045,590 such problematic entries of insertions and deletions out of 5,860,408 indel entries in the current human database of Ensembl. Equivalent indels are found in sequence regions of different functions like exons, introns or 5' and 3' UTRs. One and the same variation can be assigned to several different functional classifications of which only one is correct. We implemented an algorithm that determines for each indel database entry its complete set of equivalent indels which is uniquely characterized by the indel itself and a given interval of the reference sequence

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062803
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