Comparison of whole genome sequencing and targeted sequencing for mitochondrial DNA

NHLBI Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial dysfunction has emerged to be associated with a broad spectrum of diseases, and there is an increasing demand for accurate detection of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been the dominant sequencing approach to identify genetic variants in recent decades, but most studies focus on variants on the nuclear genome. Whole genome sequencing is also costly and time consuming. Sequencing specifically targeted for mtDNA is commonly used in the diagnostic settings and has lower costs. However, there is a lack of pairwise comparisons between these two sequencing approaches for calling mtDNA variants on a population basis. In this study, we compared WGS and mtDNA-targeted sequencing (targeted-seq) in analyzing mitochondrial DNA from 1499 participants recruited into the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP). Our study reveals that targeted-sequencing and WGS have comparable capacity to determine genotypes and to call haplogroups and homoplasmies on mtDNA. However, there exists a large variability in calling heteroplasmies, especially for low-frequency heteroplasmies, which indicates that investigators should be cautious about heteroplasmies acquired from different sequencing methods. Further research is highly desired to improve variant detection methods for mitochondrial DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Asthma
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Targeted sequencing
  • Whole genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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