More than 20 percent of non-primate genome sequences from the top public sequencing facilities are contaminated with human DNA, reports a linkurl:study; published today (February 16) in PLoS ONE.
A Sanger sequencing read
Image: Wikimedia commons, Loris
This research calls for scientists to work harder to ensure that the genomes they're sequencing do not become contaminated during the sequencing process, and, more importantly, to check for potential contamination in genomes pulled from the public databases on which genomes are normally deposited. "Genome contamination is a big problem -- but it's not new," said linkurl:Jonathan Eisen,; evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis and lead of the phylogenomics program at the United States Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. "This paper might help remind people of this [issue]."Contamination can be introduced into a genomic sequence at any number of stages. It could be airborne bacteria landing in a sample,...
E. colimBioLongo, M.S., et al. "Abundant Human DNA Contamination Identified in Non-Primate Genome Databases." PLoS ONE, DOI: linkurl:10.1371/journal.pone.0016410;

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?