Adaptive sequencing using nanopores and deep learning of mitochondrial DNA

Artem Danilevsky, Avital Luba Polsky, Noam Shomron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanopore sequencing is an emerging technology that reads DNA by utilizing a unique method of detecting nucleic acid sequences and identifies the various chemical modifications they carry. Deep learning has increased in popularity as a useful technique to solve many complex computational tasks. 'Adaptive sequencing' is an implementation of selective sequencing, intended for use on the nanopore sequencing platform. In this study, we demonstrated an alternative method of software-based selective sequencing that is performed in real time by combining nanopore sequencing and deep learning. Our results showed the feasibility of using deep learning for classifying signals from only the first 200 nucleotides in a raw nanopore sequencing signal format. This was further demonstrated by comparing the accuracy of our deep learning classification model across data from several human cell lines and other eukaryotic organisms. We used custom deep learning models and a script that utilizes a 'Read Until' framework to target mitochondrial molecules in real time from a human cell line sample. This achieved a significant separation and enrichment ability of 2.3-fold. In a series of very short sequencing experiments (10, 30 and 120 min), we identified genomic and mitochondrial reads with accuracy above 90%, although mitochondrial DNA comprised only 0.1% of the total input material. The uniqueness of our method is the ability to distinguish two groups of DNA even without a labeled reference. This contrasts with studies that required a well-defined reference, whether of a DNA sequence or of another type of representation. Additionally, our method showed higher correlation to the theoretically possible enrichment factor, compared with other published methods. We believe that our results will lay the foundation for rapid and selective sequencing using nanopore technology and will pave the approach for clinical applications that use nanopore sequencing data.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbbac251
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • classification
  • deep-learning
  • nanopore- sequencing
  • real-Time
  • selective- sequencing


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