Clonal populations accumulate mutations over time, resulting in different haplotypes. Deep sequencing of such a population in principle provides information to reconstruct these haplotypes and the frequency at which the haplotypes occur. However, this reconstruction is technically not trivial, especially not in clonal systems with a relatively low mutation frequency. The low number of segregating sites in those systems adds ambiguity to the haplotype phasing and thus obviates the reconstruction of genome-wide haplotypes based on sequence overlap information.Therefore, we present EVORhA, a haplotype reconstruction method that complements phasing information in the non-empty read overlap with the frequency estimations of inferred local haplotypes. As was shown with simulated data, as soon as read lengths and/or mutation rates become restrictive for state-of-the-art methods, the use of this additional frequency information allows EVORhA to still reliably reconstruct genome-wide haplotypes. On real data, we show the applicability of the method in reconstructing the population composition of evolved bacterial populations and in decomposing mixed bacterial infections from clinical samples.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.