April 21, 2020  |  

De Novo Genome Sequence Assembly of Dwarf Coconut (Cocos nucifera L. ‘Catigan Green Dwarf’) Provides Insights into Genomic Variation Between Coconut Types and Related Palm Species.

We report the first whole genome sequence (WGS) assembly and annotation of a dwarf coconut variety, ‘Catigan Green Dwarf’ (CATD). The genome sequence was generated using the PacBio SMRT sequencing platform at 15X coverage of the expected genome size of 2.15 Gbp, which was corrected with assembled 50X Illumina paired-end MiSeq reads of the same genome. The draft genome was improved through Chicago sequencing to generate a scaffold assembly that results in a total genome size of 2.1 Gbp consisting of 7,998 scaffolds with N50 of 570,487 bp. The final assembly covers around 97.6% of the estimated genome size of coconut ‘CATD’ based on homozygous k-mer peak analysis. A total of 34,958 high-confidence gene models were predicted and functionally associated to various economically important traits, such as pest/disease resistance, drought tolerance, coconut oil biosynthesis, and putative transcription factors. The assembled genome was used to infer the evolutionary relationship within the palm family based on genomic variations and synteny of coding gene sequences. Data show that at least three (3) rounds of whole genome duplication occurred and are commonly shared by these members of the Arecaceae family. A total of 7,139 unique SSR markers were designed to be used as a resource in marker-based breeding. In addition, we discovered 58,503 variants in coconut by aligning the Hainan Tall (HAT) WGS reads to the non-repetitive regions of the assembled CATD genome. The gene markers and genome-wide SSR markers established here will facilitate the development of varieties with resilience to climate change, resistance to pests and diseases, and improved oil yield and quality.Copyright © 2019 Lantican et al.

July 19, 2019  |  

ATM kinase is required for telomere elongation in mouse and human cells.

Short telomeres induce a DNA damage response, senescence, and apoptosis, thus maintaining telomere length equilibrium is essential for cell viability. Telomerase addition of telomere repeats is tightly regulated in cells. To probe pathways that regulate telomere addition, we developed the ADDIT assay to measure new telomere addition at a single telomere in vivo. Sequence analysis showed telomerase-specific addition of repeats onto a new telomere occurred in just 48 hr. Using the ADDIT assay, we found that ATM is required for addition of new repeats onto telomeres in mouse cells. Evaluation of bulk telomeres, in both human and mouse cells, showed that blocking ATM inhibited telomere elongation. Finally, the activation of ATM through the inhibition of PARP1 resulted in increased telomere elongation, supporting the central role of the ATM pathway in regulating telomere addition. Understanding this role of ATM may yield new areas for possible therapeutic intervention in telomere-mediated disease. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

An integrated strategy combining DNA walking and NGS to detect GMOs.

Recently, we developed a DNA walking system for the detection and characterization of a broad spectrum of GMOs in routine analysis of food/feed matrices. Here, we present a new version with improved throughput and sensitivity by coupling the DNA walking system to Pacific Bioscience® Next-generation sequencing technology. The performance of the new strategy was thoroughly assessed through several assays. First, we tested its detection and identification capability on grains with high or low GMO content. Second, the potential impacts of food processing were investigated using rice noodle samples. Finally, GMO mixtures and a real-life sample were analyzed to illustrate the applicability of the proposed strategy in routine GMO analysis. In all tested samples, the presence of multiple GMOs was unambiguously proven by the characterization of transgene flanking regions and the combinations of elements that are typical for transgene constructs. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Improved maize reference genome with single-molecule technologies.

Complete and accurate reference genomes and annotations provide fundamental tools for characterization of genetic and functional variation. These resources facilitate the determination of biological processes and support translation of research findings into improved and sustainable agricultural technologies. Many reference genomes for crop plants have been generated over the past decade, but these genomes are often fragmented and missing complex repeat regions. Here we report the assembly and annotation of a reference genome of maize, a genetic and agricultural model species, using single-molecule real-time sequencing and high-resolution optical mapping. Relative to the previous reference genome, our assembly features a 52-fold increase in contig length and notable improvements in the assembly of intergenic spaces and centromeres. Characterization of the repetitive portion of the genome revealed more than 130,000 intact transposable elements, allowing us to identify transposable element lineage expansions that are unique to maize. Gene annotations were updated using 111,000 full-length transcripts obtained by single-molecule real-time sequencing. In addition, comparative optical mapping of two other inbred maize lines revealed a prevalence of deletions in regions of low gene density and maize lineage-specific genes.

July 7, 2019  |  

Wild tobacco genomes reveal the evolution of nicotine biosynthesis.

Nicotine, the signature alkaloid of Nicotiana species responsible for the addictive properties of human tobacco smoking, functions as a defensive neurotoxin against attacking herbivores. However, the evolution of the genetic features that contributed to the assembly of the nicotine biosynthetic pathway remains unknown. We sequenced and assembled genomes of two wild tobaccos, Nicotiana attenuata (2.5 Gb) and Nicotiana obtusifolia (1.5 Gb), two ecological models for investigating adaptive traits in nature. We show that after the Solanaceae whole-genome triplication event, a repertoire of rapidly expanding transposable elements (TEs) bloated these Nicotiana genomes, promoted expression divergences among duplicated genes, and contributed to the evolution of herbivory-induced signaling and defenses, including nicotine biosynthesis. The biosynthetic machinery that allows for nicotine synthesis in the roots evolved from the stepwise duplications of two ancient primary metabolic pathways: the polyamine and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) pathways. In contrast to the duplication of the polyamine pathway that is shared among several solanaceous genera producing polyamine-derived tropane alkaloids, we found that lineage-specific duplications within the NAD pathway and the evolution of root-specific expression of the duplicated Solanaceae-specific ethylene response factor that activates the expression of all nicotine biosynthetic genes resulted in the innovative and efficient production of nicotine in the genus Nicotiana Transcription factor binding motifs derived from TEs may have contributed to the coexpression of nicotine biosynthetic pathway genes and coordinated the metabolic flux. Together, these results provide evidence that TEs and gene duplications facilitated the emergence of a key metabolic innovation relevant to plant fitness.

July 7, 2019  |  

Detection and assessment of copy number variation using PacBio long-read and Illumina sequencing in New Zealand dairy cattle.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms have been the DNA variant of choice for genomic prediction, largely because of the ease of single nucleotide polymorphism genotype collection. In contrast, structural variants (SV), which include copy number variants (CNV), translocations, insertions, and inversions, have eluded easy detection and characterization, particularly in nonhuman species. However, evidence increasingly shows that SV not only contribute a substantial proportion of genetic variation but also have significant influence on phenotypes. Here we present the discovery of CNV in a prominent New Zealand dairy bull using long-read PacBio (Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, CA) sequencing technology and the Sniffles SV discovery tool (version 0.0.1; https://github.com/fritzsedlazeck/Sniffles). The CNV identified from long reads were compared with CNV discovered in the same bull from Illumina sequencing using CNVnator (read depth-based tool; Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA) as a means of validation. Subsequently, further validation was undertaken using whole-genome Illumina sequencing of 556 cattle representing the wider New Zealand dairy cattle population. Very limited overlap was observed in CNV discovered from the 2 sequencing platforms, in part because of the differences in size of CNV detected. Only a few CNV were therefore able to be validated using this approach. However, the ability to use CNVnator to genotype the 557 cattle for copy number across all regions identified as putative CNV allowed a genome-wide assessment of transmission level of copy number based on pedigree. The more highly transmissible a putative CNV region was observed to be, the more likely the distribution of copy number was multimodal across the 557 sequenced animals. Furthermore, visual assessment of highly transmissible CNV regions provided evidence supporting the presence of CNV across the sequenced animals. This transmission-based approach was able to confirm a subset of CNV that segregates in the New Zealand dairy cattle population. Genome-wide identification and validation of CNV is an important step toward their inclusion in genomic selection strategies.The Authors. Published by the Federation of Animal Science Societies and Elsevier Inc. on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association®. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

July 7, 2019  |  

Assemblytics: a web analytics tool for the detection of variants from an assembly.

Assemblytics is a web app for detecting and analyzing variants from a de novo genome assembly aligned to a reference genome. It incorporates a unique anchor filtering approach to increase robustness to repetitive elements, and identifies six classes of variants based on their distinct alignment signatures. Assemblytics can be applied both to comparing aberrant genomes, such as human cancers, to a reference, or to identify differences between related species. Multiple interactive visualizations enable in-depth explorations of the genomic distributions of variants.http://assemblytics.com, https://github.com/marianattestad/assemblytics CONTACT: mnattest@cshl.eduSupplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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