Circall: fast and accurate methodology for discovery of circular RNAs from paired-end RNA-sequencing data

Dat Thanh Nguyen, Quang Thinh Trac, Thi Hau Nguyen, Ha Nam Nguyen, Nir Ohad, Yudi Pawitan, Trung Nghia Vu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Circular RNA (circRNA) is an emerging class of RNA molecules attracting researchers due to its potential for serving as markers for diagnosis, prognosis, or therapeutic targets of cancer, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases. Current methods for detection of circRNA from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) focus mostly on improving mapping quality of reads supporting the back-splicing junction (BSJ) of a circRNA to eliminate false positives (FPs). We show that mapping information alone often cannot predict if a BSJ-supporting read is derived from a true circRNA or not, thus increasing the rate of FP circRNAs. Results: We have developed Circall, a novel circRNA detection method from RNA-seq. Circall controls the FPs using a robust multidimensional local false discovery rate method based on the length and expression of circRNAs. It is computationally highly efficient by using a quasi-mapping algorithm for fast and accurate RNA read alignments. We applied Circall on two simulated datasets and three experimental datasets of human cell-lines. The results show that Circall achieves high sensitivity and precision in the simulated data. In the experimental datasets it performs well against current leading methods. Circall is also substantially faster than the other methods, particularly for large datasets. Conclusions: With those better performances in the detection of circRNAs and in computational time, Circall facilitates the analyses of circRNAs in large numbers of samples. Circall is implemented in C++ and R, and available for use at and

Original languageEnglish
Article number495
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


FundersFunder number
ASCRS Research Foundation
Stiftelsen för Strategisk Forskning2018-05973
Tel Aviv University


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