McCarty DR, Latshaw S, Wu S, Suzuki M, Hunter CT, Avigne WT, Koch KE
Mutations tagged by transposon insertions can be readily mapped and identified in organisms with sequenced genomes. Collections of such mutants allow a systematic analysis of gene function, and can be sequence-indexed to build invaluable resources. Here we present Mu-seq (Mutant-seq), a high-throughput NextGen sequencing method for harnessing high-copy transposons. We illustrate the efficacy of Mu-seq by applying it to the Robertson's Mutator system in a large population of maize plants. A single Mu-seq library, for example, constructed from 576 different families (2304 plants), enabled 4, 723 novel, germinal, transposon insertions to be detected, identified, and mapped with single base-pair resolution. In addition to the specificity, efficiency, and reproducibility of Mu-seq, a key feature of this method is its adjustable scale that can accomodate simultaneous profiling of transposons in thousands of individuals. We also describe a Mu-seq bioinformatics framework tailored to high-throughput, genome-wide, and population-wide analysis of transposon insertions.