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PhyDOSE: Design of Follow-up Single-cell Sequencing Experiments of Tumors

By Leah Weber, Nuraini Aguse, Nicholas Chia, Mohammed El-Kebir

Posted 01 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.30.016410 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008240)

The combination of bulk and single-cell DNA sequencing data of the same tumor enables the inference of high-fidelity phylogenies that form the input to many important downstream analyses in cancer genomics. While many studies simultaneously perform bulk and single-cell sequencing, some studies have analyzed initial bulk data to identify which mutations to target in a follow-up single-cell sequencing experiment, thereby decreasing cost. Bulk data provide an additional untapped source of valuable information, composed of candidate phylogenies and associated clonal prevalence. Here, we introduce PhyDOSE, a method that uses this information to strategically optimize the design of follow-up single cell experiments. Underpinning our method is the observation that only a small number of clones uniquely distinguish one candidate tree from all other trees. We incorporate distinguishing features into a probabilistic model that infers the number of cells to sequence so as to confidently reconstruct the phylogeny of the tumor. We validate PhyDOSE using simulations and a retrospective analysis of a leukemia patient, concluding that PhyDOSE's computed number of cells resolves tree ambiguity even in the presence of typical single-cell sequencing errors. We also conduct a retrospective analysis on an acute myeloid leukemia cohort, demonstrating the potential to achieve similar results with a significant reduction in the number of cells sequenced. In a prospective analysis, we demonstrate that only a small number of cells suffice to disambiguate the solution space of trees in a recent lung cancer cohort. In summary, PhyDOSE proposes cost-efficient single-cell sequencing experiments that yield high-fidelity phylogenies, which will improve downstream analyses aimed at deepening our understanding of cancer biology. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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