Copy Number Variations (CNVs) are the most prevalent types of structural variations (SVs) in the human genome and are involved in a wide range of common human diseases. Different computational methods have been devised to detect this type of SVs and to study how they are implicated in human diseases. Recently, computational methods based on high throughput sequencing (HTS) are increasingly used. The majority of these methods focus on mapping short-read sequences generated from a donor against a reference genome to detect signatures distinctive of CNVs. In particular, read-depth based methods detect CNVs by analyzing genomic regions with significantly different read-depth from the other ones. The pipeline analysis of these methods consists of four main stages: i) data preparation, ii) data normalization, iii) CNV regions identification, and iv ) copy number estimation. However, available tools do not support most of the operations required at the first two stages of this pipeline. Typically, they start the analysis by building the read-depth signal from pre-processed alignments. Therefore, third-party tools must be used to perform most of the preliminary operations required to build the read-depth signal. These data-intensive operations can be efficiently parallelized on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).

G-CNV is a GPU-based tool devised to perform the common operations required at the first two stages of the analysis pipeline. G-CNV is able to filter low quality nucleotides, to remove duplicated read sequences, to map the short-reads, to resolve multiple mapping ambiguities, to build the read-depth signal, and to normalize it. G-CNV can be efficiently used as a third-party tool able to prepare data for the subsequent read-depth signal generation and analysis. It can also be integrated in CNV detection tools to generate read-depth signals.