July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read, whole-genome shotgun sequence data for five model organisms.

Single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing from Pacific Biosciences is increasingly used in many areas of biological research including de novo genome assembly, structural-variant identification, haplotype phasing, mRNA isoform discovery, and base-modification analyses. High-quality, public datasets of SMRT sequences can spur development of analytic tools that can accommodate unique characteristics of SMRT data (long read lengths, lack of GC or amplification bias, and a random error profile leading to high consensus accuracy). In this paper, we describe eight high-coverage SMRT sequence datasets from five organisms (Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Drosophila melanogaster) that have been publicly released to the general scientific community (NCBI Sequence Read Archive ID SRP040522). Data were generated using two sequencing chemistries (P4C2 and P5C3) on the PacBio RS II instrument. The datasets reported here can be used without restriction by the research community to generate whole-genome assemblies, test new algorithms, investigate genome structure and evolution, and identify base modifications in some of the most widely-studied model systems in biological research.


July 19, 2019  |  

The power of Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing technology in the de novo assembly of a eukaryotic genome.

Second-generation sequencers (SGS) have been game-changing, achieving cost-effective whole genome sequencing in many non-model organisms. However, a large portion of the genomes still remains unassembled. We reconstructed azuki bean (Vigna angularis) genome using single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology and achieved the best contiguity and coverage among currently assembled legume crops. The SMRT-based assembly produced 100 times longer contigs with 100 times smaller amount of gaps compared to the SGS-based assemblies. A detailed comparison between the assemblies revealed that the SMRT-based assembly enabled a more comprehensive gene annotation than the SGS-based assemblies where thousands of genes were missing or fragmented. A chromosome-scale assembly was generated based on the high-density genetic map, covering 86% of the azuki bean genome. We demonstrated that SMRT technology, though still needed support of SGS data, achieved a near-complete assembly of a eukaryotic genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

Chromosome-level assembly of Arabidopsis thaliana Ler reveals the extent of translocation and inversion polymorphisms.

Resequencing or reference-based assemblies reveal large parts of the small-scale sequence variation. However, they typically fail to separate such local variation into colinear and rearranged variation, because they usually do not recover the complement of large-scale rearrangements, including transpositions and inversions. Besides the availability of hundreds of genomes of diverse Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, there is so far only one full-length assembled genome: the reference sequence. We have assembled 117 Mb of the A. thaliana Landsberg erecta (Ler) genome into five chromosome-equivalent sequences using a combination of short Illumina reads, long PacBio reads, and linkage information. Whole-genome comparison against the reference sequence revealed 564 transpositions and 47 inversions comprising ~3.6 Mb, in addition to 4.1 Mb of nonreference sequence, mostly originating from duplications. Although rearranged regions are not different in local divergence from colinear regions, they are drastically depleted for meiotic recombination in heterozygotes. Using a 1.2-Mb inversion as an example, we show that such rearrangement-mediated reduction of meiotic recombination can lead to genetically isolated haplotypes in the worldwide population of A. thaliana Moreover, we found 105 single-copy genes, which were only present in the reference sequence or the Ler assembly, and 334 single-copy orthologs, which showed an additional copy in only one of the genomes. To our knowledge, this work gives first insights into the degree and type of variation, which will be revealed once complete assemblies will replace resequencing or other reference-dependent methods.


July 19, 2019  |  

Deletion-bias in DNA double-strand break repair differentially contributes to plant genome shrinkage.

In order to prevent genome instability, cells need to be protected by a number of repair mechanisms, including DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. The extent to which DSB repair, biased towards deletions or insertions, contributes to evolutionary diversification of genome size is still under debate. We analyzed mutation spectra in Arabidopsis thaliana and in barley (Hordeum vulgare) by PacBio sequencing of three DSB-targeted loci each, uncovering repair via gene conversion, single strand annealing (SSA) or nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Furthermore, phylogenomic comparisons between A. thaliana and two related species were used to detect naturally occurring deletions during Arabidopsis evolution. Arabidopsis thaliana revealed significantly more and larger deletions after DSB repair than barley, and barley displayed more and larger insertions. Arabidopsis displayed a clear net loss of DNA after DSB repair, mainly via SSA and NHEJ. Barley revealed a very weak net loss of DNA, apparently due to less active break-end resection and easier copying of template sequences into breaks. Comparative phylogenomics revealed several footprints of SSA in the A. thaliana genome. Quantitative assessment of DNA gain and loss through DSB repair processes suggests deletion-biased DSB repair causing ongoing genome shrinking in A. thaliana, whereas genome size in barley remains nearly constant.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


July 19, 2019  |  

Canu: scalable and accurate long-read assembly via adaptive k-mer weighting and repeat separation.

Long-read single-molecule sequencing has revolutionized de novo genome assembly and enabled the automated reconstruction of reference-quality genomes. However, given the relatively high error rates of such technologies, efficient and accurate assembly of large repeats and closely related haplotypes remains challenging. We address these issues with Canu, a successor of Celera Assembler that is specifically designed for noisy single-molecule sequences. Canu introduces support for nanopore sequencing, halves depth-of-coverage requirements, and improves assembly continuity while simultaneously reducing runtime by an order of magnitude on large genomes versus Celera Assembler 8.2. These advances result from new overlapping and assembly algorithms, including an adaptive overlapping strategy based on tf-idf weighted MinHash and a sparse assembly graph construction that avoids collapsing diverged repeats and haplotypes. We demonstrate that Canu can reliably assemble complete microbial genomes and near-complete eukaryotic chromosomes using either PacBio or Oxford Nanopore technologies, and achieves a contig NG50 of greater than 21 Mbp on both human and Drosophila melanogaster PacBio datasets. For assembly structures that cannot be linearly represented, Canu provides graph-based assembly outputs in graphical fragment assembly (GFA) format for analysis or integration with complementary phasing and scaffolding techniques. The combination of such highly resolved assembly graphs with long-range scaffolding information promises the complete and automated assembly of complex genomes. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 19, 2019  |  

Re-sequencing transgenic plants revealed rearrangements at T-DNA inserts, and integration of a short T-DNA fragment, but no increase of small mutations elsewhere.

Transformation resulted in deletions and translocations at T-DNA inserts, but not in genome-wide small mutations. A tiny T-DNA splinter was detected that probably would remain undetected by conventional techniques. We investigated to which extent Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation is mutagenic, on top of inserting T-DNA. To prevent mutations due to in vitro propagation, we applied floral dip transformation of Arabidopsis thaliana. We re-sequenced the genomes of five primary transformants, and compared these to genomic sequences derived from a pool of four wild-type plants. By genome-wide comparisons, we identified ten small mutations in the genomes of the five transgenic plants, not correlated to the positions or number of T-DNA inserts. This mutation frequency is within the range of spontaneous mutations occurring during seed propagation in A. thaliana, as determined earlier. In addition, we detected small as well as large deletions specifically at the T-DNA insert sites. Furthermore, we detected partial T-DNA inserts, one of these a tiny 50-bp fragment originating from a central part of the T-DNA construct used, inserted into the plant genome without flanking other T-DNA. Because of its small size, we named this fragment a T-DNA splinter. As far as we know this is the first report of such a small T-DNA fragment insert in absence of any T-DNA border sequence. Finally, we found evidence for translocations from other chromosomes, flanking T-DNA inserts. In this study, we showed that next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a highly sensitive approach to detect T-DNA inserts in transgenic plants.


July 7, 2019  |  

Dissecting a hidden gene duplication: the Arabidopsis thaliana SEC10 locus.

Repetitive sequences present a challenge for genome sequence assembly, and highly similar segmental duplications may disappear from assembled genome sequences. Having found a surprising lack of observable phenotypic deviations and non-Mendelian segregation in Arabidopsis thaliana mutants in SEC10, a gene encoding a core subunit of the exocyst tethering complex, we examined whether this could be explained by a hidden gene duplication. Re-sequencing and manual assembly of the Arabidopsis thaliana SEC10 (At5g12370) locus revealed that this locus, comprising a single gene in the reference genome assembly, indeed contains two paralogous genes in tandem, SEC10a and SEC10b, and that a sequence segment of 7 kb in length is missing from the reference genome sequence. Differences between the two paralogs are concentrated in non-coding regions, while the predicted protein sequences exhibit 99% identity, differing only by substitution of five amino acid residues and an indel of four residues. Both SEC10 genes are expressed, although varying transcript levels suggest differential regulation. Homozygous T-DNA insertion mutants in either paralog exhibit a wild-type phenotype, consistent with proposed extensive functional redundancy of the two genes. By these observations we demonstrate that recently duplicated genes may remain hidden even in well-characterized genomes, such as that of A. thaliana. Moreover, we show that the use of the existing A. thaliana reference genome sequence as a guide for sequence assembly of new Arabidopsis accessions or related species has at least in some cases led to error propagation.


July 7, 2019  |  

NOVOPlasty: de novo assembly of organelle genomes from whole genome data.

The evolution in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has led to the development of many different assembly algorithms, but few of them focus on assembling the organelle genomes. These genomes are used in phylogenetic studies, food identification and are the most deposited eukaryotic genomes in GenBank. Producing organelle genome assembly from whole genome sequencing (WGS) data would be the most accurate and least laborious approach, but a tool specifically designed for this task is lacking. We developed a seed-and-extend algorithm that assembles organelle genomes from whole genome sequencing (WGS) data, starting from a related or distant single seed sequence. The algorithm has been tested on several new (Gonioctena intermedia and Avicennia marina) and public (Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa) whole genome Illumina data sets where it outperforms known assemblers in assembly accuracy and coverage. In our benchmark, NOVOPlasty assembled all tested circular genomes in less than 30 min with a maximum memory requirement of 16 GB and an accuracy over 99.99%. In conclusion, NOVOPlasty is the sole de novo assembler that provides a fast and straightforward extraction of the extranuclear genomes from WGS data in one circular high quality contig. The software is open source and can be downloaded at https://github.com/ndierckx/NOVOPlasty.


July 7, 2019  |  

Organelle_PBA, a pipeline for assembling chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes from PacBio DNA sequencing data.

The development of long-read sequencing technologies, such as single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing by PacBio, has produced a revolution in the sequencing of small genomes. Sequencing organelle genomes using PacBio long-read data is a cost effective, straightforward approach. Nevertheless, the availability of simple-to-use software to perform the assembly from raw reads is limited at present.We present Organelle-PBA, a Perl program designed specifically for the assembly of chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes. For chloroplast genomes, the program selects the chloroplast reads from a whole genome sequencing pool, maps the reads to a reference sequence from a closely related species, and then performs read correction and de novo assembly using Sprai. Organelle-PBA completes the assembly process with the additional step of scaffolding by SSPACE-LongRead. The program then detects the chloroplast inverted repeats and reassembles and re-orients the assembly based on the organelle origin of the reference. We have evaluated the performance of the software using PacBio reads from different species, read coverage, and reference genomes. Finally, we present the assembly of two novel chloroplast genomes from the species Picea glauca (Pinaceae) and Sinningia speciosa (Gesneriaceae).Organelle-PBA is an easy-to-use Perl-based software pipeline that was written specifically to assemble mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes from whole genome PacBio reads. The program is available at https://github.com/aubombarely/Organelle_PBA .


July 7, 2019  |  

Cytosine methylation at CpCpG sites triggers accumulation of non-CpG methylation in gene bodies.

Methylation of cytosine is an epigenetic mark involved in the regulation of transcription, usually associated with transcriptional repression. In mammals, methylated cytosines are found predominantly in CpGs but in plants non-CpG methylation (in the CpHpG or CpHpH contexts, where H is A, C or T) is also present and is associated with the transcriptional silencing of transposable elements. In addition, CpG methylation is found in coding regions of active genes. In the absence of the demethylase of lysine 9 of histone 3 (IBM1), a subset of body-methylated genes acquires non-CpG methylation. This was shown to alter their expression and affect plant development. It is not clear why only certain body-methylated genes gain non-CpG methylation in the absence of IBM1 and others do not. Here we describe a link between CpG methylation and the establishment of methylation in the CpHpG context that explains the two classes of body-methylated genes. We provide evidence that external cytosines of CpCpG sites can only be methylated when internal cytosines are methylated. CpCpG sites methylated in both cytosines promote spreading of methylation in the CpHpG context in genes protected by IBM1. In contrast, CpCpG sites remain unmethylated in IBM1-independent genes and do not promote spread of CpHpG methylation.© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 7, 2019  |  

Improving and correcting the contiguity of long-read genome assemblies of three plant species using optical mapping and chromosome conformation capture data.

Long-read sequencing can overcome the weaknesses of short reads in the assembly of eukaryotic genomes, however, at present additional scaffolding is needed to achieve chromosome-level assemblies. We generated PacBio long-read data of the genomes of three relatives of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and assembled all three genomes into only a few hundred contigs. To improve the contiguities of these assemblies, we generated BioNano Genomics optical mapping and Dovetail Genomics chromosome conformation capture data for genome scaffolding. Despite their technical differences, optical mapping and chromosome conformation capture performed similarly and doubled N50 values. After improving both integration methods, assembly contiguity reached chromosome-arm-levels. We rigorously assessed the quality of contigs and scaffolds using Illumina mate-pair libraries and genetic map information. This showed that PacBio assemblies have high sequence accuracy but can contain several misassemblies, which join unlinked regions of the genome. Most, but not all of these mis-joints were removed during the integration of the optical mapping and chromosome conformation capture data. Even though none of the centromeres was fully assembled, the scaffolds revealed large parts of some centromeric regions, even including some of the heterochromatic regions, which are not present in gold standard reference sequences. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 7, 2019  |  

Patterns of polymorphism at the self-incompatibility locus in 1,083 Arabidopsis thaliana genomes.

Although the transition to selfing in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana involved the loss of the self-incompatibility (SI) system, it clearly did not occur due to the fixation of a single inactivating mutation at the locus determining the specificities of SI (the S-locus). At least three groups of divergent haplotypes (haplogroups), corresponding to ancient functional S-alleles, have been maintained at this locus, and extensive functional studies have shown that all three carry distinct inactivating mutations. However, the historical process of loss of SI is not well understood, in particular its relation with the last glaciation. Here, we took advantage of recently published genomic resequencing data in 1,083 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions that we combined with BAC sequencing to obtain polymorphism information for the whole S-locus region at a species-wide scale. The accessions differed by several major rearrangements including large deletions and interhaplogroup recombinations, forming a set of haplogroups that are widely distributed throughout the native range and largely overlap geographically. “Relict” A. thaliana accessions that directly derive from glacial refugia are polymorphic at the S-locus, suggesting that the three haplogroups were already present when glacial refugia from the last Ice Age became isolated. Interhaplogroup recombinant haplotypes were highly frequent, and detailed analysis of recombination breakpoints suggested multiple independent origins. These findings suggest that the complete loss of SI in A. thaliana involved independent self-compatible mutants that arose prior to the last Ice Age, and experienced further rearrangements during postglacial colonization.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Centromere location in Arabidopsis is unaltered by extreme divergence in CENH3 protein sequence.

During cell division, spindle fibers attach to chromosomes at centromeres. The DNA sequence at regional centromeres is fast evolving with no conserved genetic signature for centromere identity. Instead CENH3, a centromere-specific histone H3 variant, is the epigenetic signature that specifies centromere location across both plant and animal kingdoms. Paradoxically, CENH3 is also adaptively evolving. An ongoing question is whether CENH3 evolution is driven by a functional relationship with the underlying DNA sequence. Here, we demonstrate that despite extensive protein sequence divergence, CENH3 histones from distant species assemble centromeres on the same underlying DNA sequence. We first characterized the organization and diversity of centromere repeats in wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana We show that A. thaliana CENH3-containing nucleosomes exhibit a strong preference for a unique subset of centromeric repeats. These sequences are largely missing from the genome assemblies and represent the youngest and most homogeneous class of repeats. Next, we tested the evolutionary specificity of this interaction in a background in which the native A. thaliana CENH3 is replaced with CENH3s from distant species. Strikingly, we find that CENH3 from Lepidium oleraceum and Zea mays, although specifying epigenetically weaker centromeres that result in genome elimination upon outcrossing, show a binding pattern on A. thaliana centromere repeats that is indistinguishable from the native CENH3. Our results demonstrate positional stability of a highly diverged CENH3 on independently evolved repeats, suggesting that the sequence specificity of centromeres is determined by a mechanism independent of CENH3.© 2017 Maheshwari et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole-genome restriction mapping by “subhaploid”-based RAD sequencing: An efficient and flexible approach for physical mapping and genome scaffolding.

Assembly of complex genomes using short reads remains a major challenge, which usually yields highly fragmented assemblies. Generation of ultradense linkage maps is promising for anchoring such assemblies, but traditional linkage mapping methods are hindered by the infrequency and unevenness of meiotic recombination that limit attainable map resolution. Here we develop a sequencing-based “in vitro” linkage mapping approach (called RadMap), where chromosome breakage and segregation are realized by generating hundreds of “subhaploid” fosmid/bacterial-artificial-chromosome clone pools, and by restriction site-associated DNA sequencing of these clone pools to produce an ultradense whole-genome restriction map to facilitate genome scaffolding. A bootstrap-based minimum spanning tree algorithm is developed for grouping and ordering of genome-wide markers and is implemented in a user-friendly, integrated software package (AMMO). We perform extensive analyses to validate the power and accuracy of our approach in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and human. We also demonstrate the utility of RadMap for enhancing the contiguity of a variety of whole-genome shotgun assemblies generated using either short Illumina reads (300 bp) or long PacBio reads (6-14 kb), with up to 15-fold improvement of N50 (~816 kb-3.7 Mb) and high scaffolding accuracy (98.1-98.5%). RadMap outperforms BioNano and Hi-C when input assembly is highly fragmented (contig N50 = 54 kb). RadMap can capture wide-range contiguity information and provide an efficient and flexible tool for high-resolution physical mapping and scaffolding of highly fragmented assemblies. Copyright © 2017 Dou et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

HISEA: HIerarchical SEed Aligner for PacBio data.

The next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques have been around for over a decade. Many of their fundamental applications rely on the ability to compute good genome assemblies. As the technology evolves, the assembly algorithms and tools have to continuously adjust and improve. The currently dominant technology of Illumina produces reads that are too short to bridge many repeats, setting limits on what can be successfully assembled. The emerging SMRT (Single Molecule, Real-Time) sequencing technique from Pacific Biosciences produces uniform coverage and long reads of length up to sixty thousand base pairs, enabling significantly better genome assemblies. However, SMRT reads are much more expensive and have a much higher error rate than Illumina’s – around 10-15% – mostly due to indels. New algorithms are very much needed to take advantage of the long reads while mitigating the effect of high error rate and lowering the required coverage.An essential step in assembling SMRT data is the detection of alignments, or overlaps, between reads. High error rate and very long reads make this a much more challenging problem than for Illumina data. We present a new pairwise read aligner, or overlapper, HISEA (Hierarchical SEed Aligner) for SMRT sequencing data. HISEA uses a novel two-step k-mer search, employing consistent clustering, k-mer filtering, and read alignment extension.We compare HISEA against several state-of-the-art programs – BLASR, DALIGNER, GraphMap, MHAP, and Minimap – on real datasets from five organisms. We compare their sensitivity, precision, specificity, F1-score, as well as time and memory usage. We also introduce a new, more precise, evaluation method. Finally, we compare the two leading programs, MHAP and HISEA, for their genome assembly performance in the Canu pipeline.Our algorithm has the best alignment detection sensitivity among all programs for SMRT data, significantly higher than the current best. The currently best assembler for SMRT data is the Canu program which uses the MHAP aligner in its pipeline. We have incorporated our new HISEA aligner in the Canu pipeline and benchmarked it against the best pipeline for multiple datasets at two relevant coverage levels: 30x and 50x. Our assemblies are better than those using MHAP for both coverage levels. Moreover, Canu+HISEA assemblies for 30x coverage are comparable with Canu+MHAP assemblies for 50x coverage, while being faster and cheaper.The HISEA algorithm produces alignments with highest sensitivity compared with the current state-of-the-art algorithms. Integrated in the Canu pipeline, currently the best for assembling PacBio data, it produces better assemblies than Canu+MHAP.


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