April 21, 2020  |  

Pseudo-chromosome length genome assembly of a double haploid ‘Bartlett’ pear (Pyrus communis L.)

We report an improved assembly and scaffolding of the European pear (Pyrus communis L.) genome (referred to as BartlettDHv2.0), obtained using a combination of Pacific Biosciences RSII Long read sequencing (PacBio), Bionano optical mapping, chromatin interaction capture (Hi-C), and genetic mapping. A total of 496.9 million bases (Mb) corresponding to 97% of the estimated genome size were assembled into 494 scaffolds. Hi-C data and a high-density genetic map allowed us to anchor and orient 87% of the sequence on the 17 chromosomes of the pear genome. About 50% (247 Mb) of the genome consists of repetitive sequences. Comparison with previous assemblies of Pyrus communis. and Pyrus x bretschneideri confirmed the presence of 37,445 protein-coding genes, which is 13% fewer than previously predicted.

July 19, 2019  |  

Progress, challenges and the future of crop genomes.

The availability of plant reference genomes has ushered in a new era of crop genomics. More than 100 plant genomes have been sequenced since 2000, 63% of which are crop species. These genome sequences provide insight into architecture, evolution and novel aspects of crop genomes such as the retention of key agronomic traits after whole genome duplication events. Some crops have very large, polyploid, repeat-rich genomes, which require innovative strategies for sequencing, assembly and analysis. Even low quality reference genomes have the potential to improve crop germplasm through genome-wide molecular markers, which decrease expensive phenotyping and breeding cycles. The next stage of plant genomics will require draft genome refinement, building resources for crop wild relatives, resequencing broad diversity panels, and plant ENCODE projects to better understand the complexities of these highly diverse genomes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

Association mapping, patterns of linkage disequilibrium and selection in the vicinity of the PHYTOCHROME C gene in pearl millet.

Linkage analysis confirmed the association in the region of PHYC in pearl millet. The comparison of genes found in this region suggests that PHYC is the best candidate. Major efforts are currently underway to dissect the phenotype-genotype relationship in plants and animals using existing populations. This method exploits historical recombinations accumulated in these populations. However, linkage disequilibrium sometimes extends over a relatively long distance, particularly in genomic regions containing polymorphisms that have been targets for selection. In this case, many genes in the region could be statistically associated with the trait shaped by the selected polymorphism. Statistical analyses could help in identifying the best candidate genes into such a region where an association is found. In a previous study, we proposed that a fragment of the PHYTOCHROME C gene (PHYC) is associated with flowering time and morphological variations in pearl millet. In the present study, we first performed linkage analyses using three pearl millet F2 families to confirm the presence of a QTL in the vicinity of PHYC. We then analyzed a wider genomic region of ~100 kb around PHYC to pinpoint the gene that best explains the association with the trait in this region. A panel of 90 pearl millet inbred lines was used to assess the association. We used a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach to compare 75 markers distributed along this 100-kb region. We found the best candidate markers on the PHYC gene. Signatures of selection in this region were assessed in an independent data set and pointed to the same gene. These results foster confidence in the likely role of PHYC in phenotypic variation and encourage the development of functional studies.

July 7, 2019  |  

The characterization of goat genetic diversity: Towards a genomic approach

The investigation of genetic diversity at molecular level has been proposed as a valuable complement and sometimes proxy to phenotypic diversity of local breeds and is presently considered as one of the FAO priorities for breed characterization. By recommending a set of selected molecular markers for each of the main livestock species, FAO has promoted the meta-analysis of local datasets, to achieve a global view of molecular genetic diversity. Analysis within the EU Globaldiv project of two large goat microsatellite datasets produced by the Econogene Consortium and the IAEA CRP–Asia Consortium, respectively, has generated a picture of goat diversity across continents. This indicates a gradient of decreasing diversity from the domestication centre towards Europe and Asia, a clear phylogeographic structure at the continental and regional levels, and in Asia a limited genetic differentiation among local breeds. The development of SNP panels that assay thousands of markers and the whole genome sequencing of livestock permit an affordable use of genomic technologies in all livestock species, goats included. Preliminary data from the Italian Goat Consortium indicate that the SNP panel developed for this species is highly informative. The existing panel can be improved by integrating additional SNPs identified from the whole genome sequence alignment of goats adapted to extreme climates. Part of this effort is being achieved by international projects (e.g. EU FP7 NextGen and 3SR projects), but a fair representation of the global diversity in goats requires a large panel of samples (i.e. as in the recently launched 1000 cattle genomes initiative). Genomic technologies offer new strategies to investigate complex traits difficult to measure. For example, the comparison of patterns of diversity among the genomes in selected groups of animals (e.g. adapted to different environments) and the integration of genome-wide diversity with new GIScience-based methods are able to identify molecular markers associated with genomic regions of putative importance in adaptation and thus pave the way for the identification of causative genes. Goat breeds adapted to different production systems in extreme and harsh environments will play an important role in this process. The new sequencing technologies also permit the analysis of the entire mitochondrial genome at maximum resolution. The complete mtDNA sequence is now the common standard format for the investigation of human maternal lineages. A preliminary analysis of the complete goat mtDNA genome supports a single Neolithic origin of domestic goats rather than multiple domestication events in different geographic areas.

July 7, 2019  |  

BAC-pool sequencing and analysis confirms growth-associated QTLs in the Asian seabass genome.

The Asian seabass is an important marine food fish that has been cultured for several decades in Asia Pacific. However, the lack of a high quality reference genome has hampered efforts to improve its selective breeding. A 3D BAC pool set generated in this study was screened using 22 SSR markers located on linkage group 2 which contains a growth-related QTL region. Seventy-two clones corresponding to 22 FPC contigs were sequenced by Illumina MiSeq technology. We co-assembled the MiSeq-derived scaffolds from each FPC contig with error-corrected PacBio reads, resulting in 187 sequences covering 9.7?Mb. Eleven genes annotated within this region were found to be potentially associated with growth and their tissue-specific expression was investigated. Correlation analysis demonstrated that SNPs in ctsb, skp1 and ppp2ca can be potentially used as markers for selecting fast-growing fingerlings. Conserved syntenies between seabass LG2 and five other teleosts were identified. This study i) provided a 10?Mb targeted genome assembly; ii) demonstrated NGS of BAC pools as a potential approach for mining candidates underlying QTLs of this species; iii) detected eleven genes potentially responsible for growth in the QTL region; and iv) identified useful SNP markers for selective breeding programs of Asian seabass.

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