Performance comparison of exome DNA sequencing technologies
Whole exome sequencing by high-throughput sequencing of target-enriched genomic DNA (exome-seq) has become common in basic and translational research as a means of interrogating the interpretable part of the human genome at relatively low cost. We present a comparison of three major commercial exome sequencing platforms from Agilent, Illumina and Nimblegen applied to the same human blood sample. Our results suggest that the Nimblegen platform, which is the only one to use high-density overlapping baits, covers fewer genomic regions than the other platforms but requires the least amount of sequencing to sensitively detect small variants. Agilent and Illumina are able to detect a greater total number of variants with additional sequencing. Illumina captures untranslated regions, which are not targeted by the Nimblegen and Agilent platforms. We also compare exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the same sample, demonstrating that exome sequencing can detect additional small variants missed by WGS.