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This article is the author's final published version in Bioinformatics, Volume 37, Issue 13, July 2021, Pages 1828 - 1838.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2021.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


MOTIVATION: MicroRNA (miRNA) precursor arms give rise to multiple isoforms simultaneously called "isomiRs." IsomiRs from the same arm typically differ by a few nucleotides at either their 5´ or 3´ termini, or both. In humans, the identities and abundances of isomiRs depend on a person's sex, population of origin, race/ethnicity, and on tissue type, tissue state, and disease type/subtype. Moreover, nearly half of the time the most abundant isomiR differs from the miRNA sequence found in public databases. Accurate mining of isomiRs from deep sequencing data is thus important.

RESULTS: We developed isoMiRmap, a fast, standalone, user-friendly mining tool that identifies and quantifies all isomiRs by directly processing short RNA-seq datasets. IsoMiRmap is a portable "plug-and-play" tool, requires minimal setup, has modest computing and storage requirements, and can process an RNA-seq dataset with 50 million reads in just a few minutes on an average laptop. IsoMiRmap deterministically and exhaustively reports all isomiRs in a given deep sequencing dataset and quantifies them accurately (no double-counting). IsoMiRmap comprehensively reports all miRNA precursor locations from which an isomiR may be transcribed, tags as 'ambiguous' isomiRs whose sequences exist both inside and outside of the space of known miRNA sequences and reports the public identifiers of common single-nucleotide polymorphisms and documented somatic mutations that may be present in an isomiR. IsoMiRmap also identifies isomiRs with 3´ non-templated post-transcriptional additions. Compared to similar tools, isoMiRmap is the fastest, reports more bona fide isomiRs, and provides the most comprehensive information related to an isomiR's transcriptional origin.

AVAILABILITY: The codes for isoMiRmap are freely available at and IsomiR profiles for the datasets of the 1000 Genomes Project, spanning five population groups, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), spanning 33 cancer studies, are also available at

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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