June 1, 2021  |  

Sequencing of expanded CGG repeats in the FMR1 gene.

Alleles of the FMR1 gene with more than 200 CGG repeats generally undergo methylation-coupled gene silencing, resulting in fragile X syndrome, the leading heritable form of cognitive impairment. Smaller expansions (55-200 CGG repeats) result in elevated levels of FMR1 mRNA, which is directly responsible for the late-onset neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). For mechanistic studies and genetic counseling, it is important to know with precision the number of CGG repeats; however, no existing DNA sequencing method is capable of sequencing through more than ~100 CGG repeats, thus limiting the ability to precisely characterize the disease-causing alleles. The recent development of single molecule, real-time sequencing represents a novel approach to DNA sequencing that couples the intrinsic processivity of DNA polymerase with the ability to read polymerase activity on a single-molecule basis. Further, the accuracy of the method is improved through the use of circular templates, such that each molecule can be read multiple times to produce a circular consensus sequence (CCS). We have succeeded in generating CCS reads representing multiple passes through both strands of repeat tracts exceeding 700 CGGs (>2 kb of 100 percent CG) flanked by native FMR1 sequence, with single-molecule readlengths exceeding 12 kb. This sequencing approach thus enables us to fully characterize the previously intractable CGG-repeat sequence, leading to a better understanding of the distinct associated molecular pathologies. Real-time kinetic data also provides insight into the activity of DNA polymerase inside this unique sequence. The methodology should be widely applicable for studies of the molecular pathogenesis of an increasing number of repeat expansion-associated neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, and for the efficient identification of such disorders in the clinical setting.

October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.

September 21, 2019  |  

Nonhybrid, finished microbial genome assemblies from long-read SMRT sequencing data.

We present a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP) for high-quality de novo microbial genome assemblies using only a single, long-insert shotgun DNA library in conjunction with Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. Our method uses the longest reads as seeds to recruit all other reads for construction of highly accurate preassembled reads through a directed acyclic graph-based consensus procedure, which we follow with assembly using off-the-shelf long-read assemblers. In contrast to hybrid approaches, HGAP does not require highly accurate raw reads for error correction. We demonstrate efficient genome assembly for several microorganisms using as few as three SMRT Cell zero-mode waveguide arrays of sequencing and for BACs using just one SMRT Cell. Long repeat regions can be successfully resolved with this workflow. We also describe a consensus algorithm that incorporates SMRT sequencing primary quality values to produce de novo genome sequence exceeding 99.999% accuracy.

July 19, 2019  |  

Characterizing and measuring bias in sequence data.

DNA sequencing technologies deviate from the ideal uniform distribution of reads. These biases impair scientific and medical applications. Accordingly, we have developed computational methods for discovering, describing and measuring bias.We applied these methods to the Illumina, Ion Torrent, Pacific Biosciences and Complete Genomics sequencing platforms, using data from human and from a set of microbes with diverse base compositions. As in previous work, library construction conditions significantly influence sequencing bias. Pacific Biosciences coverage levels are the least biased, followed by Illumina, although all technologies exhibit error-rate biases in high- and low-GC regions and at long homopolymer runs. The GC-rich regions prone to low coverage include a number of human promoters, so we therefore catalog 1,000 that were exceptionally resistant to sequencing. Our results indicate that combining data from two technologies can reduce coverage bias if the biases in the component technologies are complementary and of similar magnitude. Analysis of Illumina data representing 120-fold coverage of a well-studied human sample reveals that 0.20% of the autosomal genome was covered at less than 10% of the genome-wide average. Excluding locations that were similar to known bias motifs or likely due to sample-reference variations left only 0.045% of the autosomal genome with unexplained poor coverage.The assays presented in this paper provide a comprehensive view of sequencing bias, which can be used to drive laboratory improvements and to monitor production processes. Development guided by these assays should result in improved genome assemblies and better coverage of biologically important loci.

July 19, 2019  |  

Returning to more finished genomes

Abstract Genomic data have become commonplace in most branches of the biological sciences and have fundamentally altered the way research is conducted. However, the predominance of short-read sequence data from second-generation sequencing technologies has commonly resulted in fragmented and partial genomic data characteristics. In this opinion, I will highlight how long, unbiased reads from single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing now allow for a return to more contiguous and comprehensive views of genomes.

July 19, 2019  |  

Whole genome complete resequencing of Bacillus subtilis natto by combining long reads with high-quality short reads.

De novo microbial genome sequencing reached a turning point with third-generation sequencing (TGS) platforms, and several microbial genomes have been improved by TGS long reads. Bacillus subtilis natto is closely related to the laboratory standard strain B. subtilis Marburg 168, and it has a function in the production of the traditional Japanese fermented food “natto.” The B. subtilis natto BEST195 genome was previously sequenced with short reads, but it included some incomplete regions. We resequenced the BEST195 genome using a PacBio RS sequencer, and we successfully obtained a complete genome sequence from one scaffold without any gaps, and we also applied Illumina MiSeq short reads to enhance quality. Compared with the previous BEST195 draft genome and Marburg 168 genome, we found that incomplete regions in the previous genome sequence were attributed to GC-bias and repetitive sequences, and we also identified some novel genes that are found only in the new genome.

July 19, 2019  |  

Resolving the complexity of the human genome using single-molecule sequencing.

The human genome is arguably the most complete mammalian reference assembly, yet more than 160 euchromatic gaps remain and aspects of its structural variation remain poorly understood ten years after its completion. To identify missing sequence and genetic variation, here we sequence and analyse a haploid human genome (CHM1) using single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing. We close or extend 55% of the remaining interstitial gaps in the human GRCh37 reference genome–78% of which carried long runs of degenerate short tandem repeats, often several kilobases in length, embedded within (G+C)-rich genomic regions. We resolve the complete sequence of 26,079 euchromatic structural variants at the base-pair level, including inversions, complex insertions and long tracts of tandem repeats. Most have not been previously reported, with the greatest increases in sensitivity occurring for events less than 5 kilobases in size. Compared to the human reference, we find a significant insertional bias (3:1) in regions corresponding to complex insertions and long short tandem repeats. Our results suggest a greater complexity of the human genome in the form of variation of longer and more complex repetitive DNA that can now be largely resolved with the application of this longer-read sequencing technology.

July 19, 2019  |  

One chromosome, one contig: complete microbial genomes from long-read sequencing and assembly.

Like a jigsaw puzzle with large pieces, a genome sequenced with long reads is easier to assemble. However, recent sequencing technologies have favored lowering per-base cost at the expense of read length. This has dramatically reduced sequencing cost, but resulted in fragmented assemblies, which negatively affect downstream analyses and hinder the creation of finished (gapless, high-quality) genomes. In contrast, emerging long-read sequencing technologies can now produce reads tens of kilobases in length, enabling the automated finishing of microbial genomes for under $1000. This promises to improve the quality of reference databases and facilitate new studies of chromosomal structure and variation. We present an overview of these new technologies and the methods used to assemble long reads into complete genomes. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Genetic variation and the de novo assembly of human genomes.

The discovery of genetic variation and the assembly of genome sequences are both inextricably linked to advances in DNA-sequencing technology. Short-read massively parallel sequencing has revolutionized our ability to discover genetic variation but is insufficient to generate high-quality genome assemblies or resolve most structural variation. Full resolution of variation is only guaranteed by complete de novo assembly of a genome. Here, we review approaches to genome assembly, the nature of gaps or missing sequences, and biases in the assembly process. We describe the challenges of generating a complete de novo genome assembly using current technologies and the impact that being able to perfectly sequence the genome would have on understanding human disease and evolution. Finally, we summarize recent technological advances that improve both contiguity and accuracy and emphasize the importance of complete de novo assembly as opposed to read mapping as the primary means to understanding the full range of human genetic variation.

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