Avoiding biases in next generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation is crucial for obtaining reliable sequencing data. Recently, a new library preparation method has been introduced which has eliminated the need for the ligation step. This method, termed SMART (switching mechanism at the 5′ end of the RNA transcript), is based on template switching reverse transcription. To date, there has been no systematic analysis of the additional biases introduced by this method. We analysed the genomic distribution of sequenced reads prepared from genomic DNA using the SMART methodology and found a strong bias toward long (≥12bp) poly dA/dT containing genomic loci. This bias is unique to the SMART-based library preparation and does not appear when libraries are prepared with conventional ligation based methods. Although this bias is obvious only when performing paired end sequencing, it affects single end sequenced samples as well. Our analysis demonstrates that sequenced reads originating from SMART-DNA libraries are heavily skewed toward genomic poly dA/dT tracts. This bias needs to be considered when deciding to use SMART based technology for library preparation.
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© 2017 Vardi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.