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MAUI-seq: Metabarcoding using amplicons with unique molecular identifiers to improve error correction

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  • Bryden Fields, University of York
  • ,
  • Sara Moeskjaer
  • ,
  • Ville-Petri Friman, University of York
  • ,
  • Stig U Andersen
  • J Peter W Young, University of York

BACKGROUND: Sequencing and PCR errors are a major challenge when characterising genetic diversity using high-throughput amplicon sequencing (HTAS).

RESULTS: We have developed a multiplexed HTAS method, MAUI-seq, which uses unique molecular identifiers (UMIs) to improve error correction by exploiting variation among sequences associated with a single UMI. Erroneous sequences are recognised because, across the data set, they are overrepresented among the minor sequences associated with UMIs. We show that two main advantages of this approach are efficient elimination of chimeric and other erroneous reads, outperforming DADA2 and UNOISE3, and the ability to confidently recognise genuine alleles that are present at low abundance or resemble chimeras.

CONCLUSIONS: The method provides sensitive and flexible profiling of diversity and is readily adaptable to most HTAS applications, including microbial 16S rRNA profiling and metabarcoding of environmental DNA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Ecology Resources
Pages (from-to)703-720
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • amplicon sequence variant, chimeric amplicons, error correction, high-throughput amplicon sequencing, metabarcoding

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