July 19, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii.

Aegilops tauschii is the diploid progenitor of the D genome of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum, genomes AABBDD) and an important genetic resource for wheat. The large size and highly repetitive nature of the Ae. tauschii genome has until now precluded the development of a reference-quality genome sequence. Here we use an array of advanced technologies, including ordered-clone genome sequencing, whole-genome shotgun sequencing, and BioNano optical genome mapping, to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Ae. tauschii ssp. strangulata accession AL8/78, which is closely related to the wheat D genome. We show that compared to other sequenced plant genomes, including a much larger conifer genome, the Ae. tauschii genome contains unprecedented amounts of very similar repeated sequences. Our genome comparisons reveal that the Ae. tauschii genome has a greater number of dispersed duplicated genes than other sequenced genomes and its chromosomes have been structurally evolving an order of magnitude faster than those of other grass genomes. The decay of colinearity with other grass genomes correlates with recombination rates along chromosomes. We propose that the vast amounts of very similar repeated sequences cause frequent errors in recombination and lead to gene duplications and structural chromosome changes that drive fast genome evolution.

July 19, 2019  |  

The first near-complete assembly of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, Triticum aestivum.

Common bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, has one of the most complex genomes known to science, with 6 copies of each chromosome, enormous numbers of near-identical sequences scattered throughout, and an overall haploid size of more than 15 billion bases. Multiple past attempts to assemble the genome have produced assemblies that were well short of the estimated genome size. Here we report the first near-complete assembly of T. aestivum, using deep sequencing coverage from a combination of short Illumina reads and very long Pacific Biosciences reads. The final assembly contains 15 344 693 583 bases and has a weighted average (N50) contig size of 232 659 bases. This represents by far the most complete and contiguous assembly of the wheat genome to date, providing a strong foundation for future genetic studies of this important food crop. We also report how we used the recently published genome of Aegilops tauschii, the diploid ancestor of the wheat D genome, to identify 4 179 762 575 bp of T. aestivum that correspond to its D genome components.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

July 19, 2019  |  

The Aegilops tauschii genome reveals multiple impacts of transposons.

Wheat is an important global crop with an extremely large and complex genome that contains more transposable elements (TEs) than any other known crop species. Here, we generated a chromosome-scale, high-quality reference genome of Aegilops tauschii, the donor of the wheat D genome, in which 92.5% sequences have been anchored to chromosomes. Using this assembly, we accurately characterized genic loci, gene expression, pseudogenes, methylation, recombination ratios, microRNAs and especially TEs on chromosomes. In addition to the discovery of a wave of very recent gene duplications, we detected that TEs occurred in about half of the genes, and found that such genes are expressed at lower levels than those without TEs, presumably because of their elevated methylation levels. We mapped all wheat molecular markers and constructed a high-resolution integrated genetic map corresponding to genome sequences, thereby placing previously detected agronomically important genes/quantitative trait loci (QTLs) on the Ae. tauschii genome for the first time.

July 7, 2019  |  

Hybrid assembly of the large and highly repetitive genome of Aegilops tauschii, a progenitor of bread wheat, with the MaSuRCA mega-reads algorithm.

Long sequencing reads generated by single-molecule sequencing technology offer the possibility of dramatically improving the contiguity of genome assemblies. The biggest challenge today is that long reads have relatively high error rates, currently around 15%. The high error rates make it difficult to use this data alone, particularly with highly repetitive plant genomes. Errors in the raw data can lead to insertion or deletion errors (indels) in the consensus genome sequence, which in turn create significant problems for downstream analysis; for example, a single indel may shift the reading frame and incorrectly truncate a protein sequence. Here, we describe an algorithm that solves the high error rate problem by combining long, high-error reads with shorter but much more accurate Illumina sequencing reads, whose error rates average <1%. Our hybrid assembly algorithm combines these two types of reads to construct mega-reads, which are both long and accurate, and then assembles the mega-reads using the CABOG assembler, which was designed for long reads. We apply this technique to a large data set of Illumina and PacBio sequences from the species Aegilops tauschii, a large and extremely repetitive plant genome that has resisted previous attempts at assembly. We show that the resulting assembled contigs are far larger than in any previous assembly, with an N50 contig size of 486,807 nucleotides. We compare the contigs to independently produced optical maps to evaluate their large-scale accuracy, and to a set of high-quality bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based assemblies to evaluate base-level accuracy. © 2017 Zimin et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

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