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Monday, March 30, 2020

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Of reference genomes and precious metals

Rick Wilson, Director of the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis titled his talk “Of reference genomes and precious metals” and walked the audience through definitions and standards for the various quality levels for de novo assembled human genomes, e.g., platinum, gold, and silver. He noted that this was a good topic for this session because of the important role PacBio has played in the community’s work to create reference-grade genomes. For example, PacBio technology has enabled them to sequence additional genomes (CHM1, CHM13) to a very high quality level. Although these sequences were essential for further…

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Monday, March 30, 2020

AGBT Conference: Evolving approaches to reference assembly improvement

Valerie Schneider speaks about Genome Reference Consortium efforts to improve assembly of the human reference genome. SMRT Sequencing has been useful for resolving some highly repetitive regions, like the mucin genes. Haploid assemblies produced with long-read sequencing are also making complex regions more tractable.

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Assembling large genomes with single-molecule sequencing and locality-sensitive hashing.

Long-read, single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is routinely used to finish microbial genomes, but available assembly methods have not scaled well to larger genomes. We introduce the MinHash Alignment Process (MHAP) for overlapping noisy, long reads using probabilistic, locality-sensitive hashing. Integrating MHAP with the Celera Assembler enabled reference-grade de novo assemblies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster and a human hydatidiform mole cell line (CHM1) from SMRT sequencing. The resulting assemblies are highly continuous, include fully resolved chromosome arms and close persistent gaps in these reference genomes. Our assembly of D. melanogaster revealed previously unknown heterochromatic and telomeric transition sequences,…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Discovery and genotyping of structural variation from long-read haploid genome sequence data.

In an effort to more fully understand the full spectrum of human genetic variation, we generated deep single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing data from two haploid human genomes. By using an assembly-based approach (SMRT-SV), we systematically assessed each genome independently for structural variants (SVs) and indels resolving the sequence structure of 461,553 genetic variants from 2 bp to 28 kbp in length. We find that >89% of these variants have been missed as part of analysis of the 1000 Genomes Project even after adjusting for more common variants (MAF > 1%). We estimate that this theoretical human diploid differs by as…

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Friday, 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…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Single haplotype assembly of the human genome from a hydatidiform mole.

A complete reference assembly is essential for accurately interpreting individual genomes and associating variation with phenotypes. While the current human reference genome sequence is of very high quality, gaps and misassemblies remain due to biological and technical complexities. Large repetitive sequences and complex allelic diversity are the two main drivers of assembly error. Although increasing the length of sequence reads and library fragments can improve assembly, even the longest available reads do not resolve all regions. In order to overcome the issue of allelic diversity, we used genomic DNA from an essentially haploid hydatidiform mole, CHM1. We utilized several resources…

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Friday, 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…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A unique chromatin complex occupies young a-satellite arrays of human centromeres.

The intractability of homogeneous a-satellite arrays has impeded understanding of human centromeres. Artificial centromeres are produced from higher-order repeats (HORs) present at centromere edges, although the exact sequences and chromatin conformations of centromere cores remain unknown. We use high-resolution chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) of centromere components followed by clustering of sequence data as an unbiased approach to identify functional centromere sequences. We find that specific dimeric a-satellite units shared by multiple individuals dominate functional human centromeres. We identify two recently homogenized a-satellite dimers that are occupied by precisely positioned CENP-A (cenH3) nucleosomes with two ~100-base pair (bp) DNA wraps in tandem…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Characterization of structural variants with single molecule and hybrid sequencing approaches.

Structural variation is common in human and cancer genomes. High-throughput DNA sequencing has enabled genome-scale surveys of structural variation. However, the short reads produced by these technologies limit the study of complex variants, particularly those involving repetitive regions. Recent ‘third-generation’ sequencing technologies provide single-molecule templates and longer sequencing reads, but at the cost of higher per-nucleotide error rates.We present MultiBreak-SV, an algorithm to detect structural variants (SVs) from single molecule sequencing data, paired read sequencing data, or a combination of sequencing data from different platforms. We demonstrate that combining low-coverage third-generation data from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) with high-coverage paired read…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Evaluation of GRCh38 and de novo haploid genome assemblies demonstrates the enduring quality of the reference assembly.

The human reference genome assembly plays a central role in nearly all aspects of today’s basic and clinical research. GRCh38 is the first coordinate-changing assembly update since 2009; it reflects the resolution of roughly 1000 issues and encompasses modifications ranging from thousands of single base changes to megabase-scale path reorganizations, gap closures, and localization of previously orphaned sequences. We developed a new approach to sequence generation for targeted base updates and used data from new genome mapping technologies and single haplotype resources to identify and resolve larger assembly issues. For the first time, the reference assembly contains sequence-based representations for…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Resolving complex structural genomic rearrangements using a randomized approach.

Complex chromosomal rearrangements are structural genomic alterations involving multiple instances of deletions, duplications, inversions, or translocations that co-occur either on the same chromosome or represent different overlapping events on homologous chromosomes. We present SVelter, an algorithm that identifies regions of the genome suspected to harbor a complex event and then resolves the structure by iteratively rearranging the local genome structure, in a randomized fashion, with each structure scored against characteristics of the observed sequencing data. SVelter is able to accurately reconstruct complex chromosomal rearrangements when compared to well-characterized genomes that have been deeply sequenced with both short and long reads.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Alpha-CENTAURI: assessing novel centromeric repeat sequence variation with long read sequencing.

Long arrays of near-identical tandem repeats are a common feature of centromeric and subtelomeric regions in complex genomes. These sequences present a source of repeat structure diversity that is commonly ignored by standard genomic tools. Unlike reads shorter than the underlying repeat structure that rely on indirect inference methods, e.g. assembly, long reads allow direct inference of satellite higher order repeat structure. To automate characterization of local centromeric tandem repeat sequence variation we have designed Alpha-CENTAURI (ALPHA satellite CENTromeric AUtomated Repeat Identification), that takes advantage of Pacific Bioscience long-reads from whole-genome sequencing datasets. By operating on reads prior to assembly,…

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