July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT sequencing only de novo assembly of the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) chloroplast genome.

Third generation sequencing methods, like SMRT (Single Molecule, Real-Time) sequencing developed by Pacific Biosciences, offer much longer read length in comparison to Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods. Hence, they are well suited for de novo- or re-sequencing projects. Sequences generated for these purposes will not only contain reads originating from the nuclear genome, but also a significant amount of reads originating from the organelles of the target organism. These reads are usually discarded but they can also be used for an assembly of organellar replicons. The long read length supports resolution of repetitive regions and repeats within the organelles genome which might be problematic when just using short read data. Additionally, SMRT sequencing is less influenced by GC rich areas and by long stretches of the same base.We describe a workflow for a de novo assembly of the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) chloroplast genome sequence only based on data originating from a SMRT sequencing dataset targeted on its nuclear genome. We show that the data obtained from such an experiment are sufficient to create a high quality assembly with a higher reliability than assemblies derived from e.g. Illumina reads only. The chloroplast genome is especially challenging for de novo assembling as it contains two large inverted repeat (IR) regions. We also describe some limitations that still apply even though long reads are used for the assembly.SMRT sequencing reads extracted from a dataset created for nuclear genome (re)sequencing can be used to obtain a high quality de novo assembly of the chloroplast of the sequenced organism. Even with a relatively small overall coverage for the nuclear genome it is possible to collect more than enough reads to generate a high quality assembly that outperforms short read based assemblies. However, even with long reads it is not always possible to clarify the order of elements of a chloroplast genome sequence reliantly which we could demonstrate with Fosmid End Sequences (FES) generated with Sanger technology. Nevertheless, this limitation also applies to short read sequencing data but is reached in this case at a much earlier stage during finishing.

July 7, 2019  |  

An improved genome assembly uncovers prolific tandem repeats in Atlantic cod.

The first Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) genome assembly published in 2011 was one of the early genome assemblies exclusively based on high-throughput 454 pyrosequencing. Since then, rapid advances in sequencing technologies have led to a multitude of assemblies generated for complex genomes, although many of these are of a fragmented nature with a significant fraction of bases in gaps. The development of long-read sequencing and improved software now enable the generation of more contiguous genome assemblies.By combining data from Illumina, 454 and the longer PacBio sequencing technologies, as well as integrating the results of multiple assembly programs, we have created a substantially improved version of the Atlantic cod genome assembly. The sequence contiguity of this assembly is increased fifty-fold and the proportion of gap-bases has been reduced fifteen-fold. Compared to other vertebrates, the assembly contains an unusual high density of tandem repeats (TRs). Indeed, retrospective analyses reveal that gaps in the first genome assembly were largely associated with these TRs. We show that 21% of the TRs across the assembly, 19% in the promoter regions and 12% in the coding sequences are heterozygous in the sequenced individual.The inclusion of PacBio reads combined with the use of multiple assembly programs drastically improved the Atlantic cod genome assembly by successfully resolving long TRs. The high frequency of heterozygous TRs within or in the vicinity of genes in the genome indicate a considerable standing genomic variation in Atlantic cod populations, which is likely of evolutionary importance.

July 7, 2019  |  

The Atlantic salmon genome provides insights into rediploidization.

The whole-genome duplication 80 million years ago of the common ancestor of salmonids (salmonid-specific fourth vertebrate whole-genome duplication, Ss4R) provides unique opportunities to learn about the evolutionary fate of a duplicated vertebrate genome in 70 extant lineages. Here we present a high-quality genome assembly for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and show that large genomic reorganizations, coinciding with bursts of transposon-mediated repeat expansions, were crucial for the post-Ss4R rediploidization process. Comparisons of duplicate gene expression patterns across a wide range of tissues with orthologous genes from a pre-Ss4R outgroup unexpectedly demonstrate far more instances of neofunctionalization than subfunctionalization. Surprisingly, we find that genes that were retained as duplicates after the teleost-specific whole-genome duplication 320 million years ago were not more likely to be retained after the Ss4R, and that the duplicate retention was not influenced to a great extent by the nature of the predicted protein interactions of the gene products. Finally, we demonstrate that the Atlantic salmon assembly can serve as a reference sequence for the study of other salmonids for a range of purposes.

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