Overlooked: Extrachromosomal DNA and their possible impact on whole genome sequencing

Reinhard H. Dennin

1 Citation (Scopus)


Extrachromosomal (ec) DNA in eukaryotic cells has been known for decades. The structures described range from linear double stranded (ds) DNA to circular dsDNA, distinct from mitochondrial (mt) DNA. The sizes of circular forms are described from some hundred base pairs (bp) up to more than 150 kbp. The number of molecules per cell ranges from several hundred to a thousand. Semi-quantitative determinations of circular dsDNA show proportions as high as several percentages of the total DNA per cell. These ecDNA fractions harbor sequences that are known to be present in chromosomal DNA (chrDNA) too. Sequencing projects on, for example the human genome, have to take into account the ecDNA sequences which are simultaneously ascertained; corrections cannot be performed retrospectively. Concerning the results of sequencings derived from extracted whole DNA: if the ecDNA fractions contained therein are not taken into account, erroneous conclusions at the chromosomal level may result.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMalaysian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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