SRBreak: A read-depth and split-read framework to identify breakpoints of different events inside simple copy-number variable regions

Academic Article


  • Copy-number variation (CNV) has been associated with increased risk of complex diseases. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies facilitate the detection of copy-number variable regions (CNVRs) and their breakpoints. This helps in understanding genome structure as well as their evolution process. Various approaches have been proposed for detecting CNV breakpoints, but currently it is still challenging for tools based on a single analysis method to identify breakpoints of CNVs. It has been shown, however, that pipelines which integrate multiple approaches are able to report more reliable breakpoints. Here, based on HTS data, we have developed a pipeline to identify approximate breakpoints (±10 bp) relating to different ancestral events within a specific CNVR. The pipeline combines read-depth and split-read information to infer breakpoints, using information from multiple samples to allow an imputation approach to be taken. The main steps involve using a normal mixture model to cluster samples into different groups, followed by simple kernel-based approaches to maximize information obtained from read-depth and split-read approaches, after which common breakpoints of groups are inferred. The pipeline uses split-read information directly from CIGAR strings of BAM files, without using a re-alignment step. On simulated data sets, it was able to report breakpoints for very low-coverage samples including those for which only single-end reads were available. When applied to three loci from existing human resequencing data sets (NEGR1, LCE3, IRGM) the pipeline obtained good concordance with results from the 1000 Genomes Project (92, 100, and 82%, respectively). The package is available at, and also as a docker-based application at
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nguyen HT; Boocock J; Merriman TR; Black MA
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • SEP