Is it time to changte the reference genome?


The use of the human reference genome has shaped methods and data across modern genomics. This has offered many benefits while creating a few constraints. In the following opinion, we outline the history, properties, and pitfalls of the current human reference genome. In a few illustrative analyses, we focus on its use for variant-calling, highlighting its nearness to a type specimen. We suggest that switching to a consensus reference would offer important advantages over the continued use of the current reference with few disadvantages.

Genome Biology