MULTo – Minimum Unique Length Tool – for efficient and comprehensive representation of mappability

As next generation sequencing technologies are getting more efficient and less expensive, RNA-Seq is becoming a widely used technique for transcriptome studies. Computational analysis of RNA-Seq data often starts with the mapping of millions of short reads back to the genome or transcriptome, a process in which some reads are found to map equally well to multiple genomic locations (multimapping reads).

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden have developed the Minimum Unique Length Tool (MULTo), a framework for efficient and comprehensive representation of mappability information, through identification of the shortest possible length required for each genomic coordinate to become unique in the genome and transcriptome. Using the minimum unique length information, they have compared different uniqueness compensation approaches for transcript expression level quantification and demonstrate that the best compensation is achieved by discarding multimapping reads and correctly adjusting gene model lengths. They have also explored uniqueness within specific regions of the mouse genome and enhancer mapping experiments. Finally, by making MULTo available to the community they hope to facilitate the use of uniqueness compensation in RNA-Seq analysis and to eliminate the need to make additional mappability files.


Availability –

  • Storvall H, Ramsköld D, Sandberg R. (2013) Efficient and comprehensive representation of uniqueness for next-generation sequencing by minimum unique length analyses. PLoS One 8(1), e53822. [article]