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Whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) is the current method of choice to obtain the methylation status of each single CpG dinucleotide in a genome. The typical analysis asks for regions that are differentially methylated (DMRs) between samples of two classes, such as different cell types. However, even with current low sequencing costs, many studies need to cope with few samples and medium coverage to stay within budget. We present a method to conservatively estimate the methylation difference between the two classes. Starting from a Bayesian paradigm, we formulate an optimization problem related to LASSO approaches. We present a dynamic programming approach to efficiently compute the optimal solution and its implementation diffmer. We discuss the dependency of the resulting DMRs on the free parameters of our approach and compare the results to those obtained by other DMR discovery tools (BSmooth and RADMeth). We showcase that our method discovers DMRs that are missed by the other tools.
This work has been presented at the German Conference on Bioinformatics 2015. Indexing correction in Figure 1