Keywords: Bayesian nonparametric, Beta process, Variants discovery
TL;DR: We consider multiple heterogeneous populations and propose a new method for predicting the number of new (shared and private) variants in a follow-up study given a pilot study.
Abstract: Collecting genomics data across multiple heterogeneous populations (e.g., across different cancer types) has the potential to improve our understanding of disease. Despite sequencing advances, though, resources often remain a constraint when gathering data. So it would be useful for experimental design if experimenters with access to a pilot study could predict the number of new variants they might expect to find in a follow-up study: both the number of new variants shared between the populations and the total across the populations. While many authors have developed prediction methods for the single-population case, we expect these predictions to fair poorly across multiple populations that are heterogeneous. We prove that, surprisingly, a natural extension of a state-of-the-art single-population predictor to multiple populations fails for fundamental reasons. We provide the first predictor for the number of new shared variants and new total variants that can handle heterogeneity in multiple populations. We show that our proposed method works well empirically using both synthetic data and real cancer data.