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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Candidate gene screening using long-read sequencing

We have developed several candidate gene screening applications for both Neuromuscular and Neurological disorders. The power behind these applications comes from the use of long-read sequencing. It allows us to access previously unresolvable and even unsequencable genomic regions. SMRT Sequencing offers uniform coverage, a lack of sequence context bias, and very high accuracy. In addition, it is also possible to directly detect epigenetic signatures and characterize full-length gene transcripts through assembly-free isoform sequencing. In addition to calling the bases, SMRT Sequencing uses the kinetic information from each nucleotide to distinguish between modified and native bases.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Screening and characterization of causative structural variants for bipolar disorder in a significantly linked chromosomal region onXq24-q27 in an extended pedigree from a genetic isolate

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a phenotypically and genetically complex and debilitating neurological disorder that affects 1% of the worldwide population. There is compelling evidence from family, twin and adoption studies supporting the involvement of a genetic predisposition in BD with estimated heritability up to ~ 80%. The risk in first-degree relatives is ten times higher than in the general population. Linkage and association studies have implicated multiple putative chromosomal loci for BP susceptibility, however no disease genes have been identified to date.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Towards precision medicine.

There is great potential for genome sequencing to enhance patient care through improved diagnostic sensitivity and more precise therapeutic targeting. To maximize this potential, genomics strategies that have been developed for genetic discovery – including DNA-sequencing technologies and analysis algorithms – need to be adapted to fit clinical needs. This will require the optimization of alignment algorithms, attention to quality-coverage metrics, tailored solutions for paralogous or low-complexity areas of the genome, and the adoption of consensus standards for variant calling and interpretation. Global sharing of this more accurate genotypic and phenotypic data will accelerate the determination of causality for novel…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Characterization of a human-specific tandem repeat associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are highly heritable diseases that affect more than 3% of individuals worldwide. Genome-wide association studies have strongly and repeatedly linked risk for both of these neuropsychiatric diseases to a 100 kb interval in the third intron of the human calcium channel gene CACNA1C. However, the causative mutation is not yet known. We have identified a human-specific tandem repeat in this region that is composed of 30 bp units, often repeated hundreds of times. This large tandem repeat is unstable using standard polymerase chain reaction and bacterial cloning techniques, which may have resulted in its incorrect…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

It’s more than stamp collecting: how genome sequencing can unify biological research.

The availability of reference genome sequences, especially the human reference, has revolutionized the study of biology. However, while the genomes of some species have been fully sequenced, a wide range of biological problems still cannot be effectively studied for lack of genome sequence information. Here, I identify neglected areas of biology and describe how both targeted species sequencing and more broad taxonomic surveys of the tree of life can address important biological questions. I enumerate the significant benefits that would accrue from sequencing a broader range of taxa, as well as discuss the technical advances in sequencing and assembly methods…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A vast genomic deletion in the C56BL/6 genome affects different genes within the Ifi200 cluster on chromosome 1 and mediates obesity and insulin resistance.

Obesity, the excessive accumulation of body fat, is a highly heritable and genetically heterogeneous disorder. The complex, polygenic basis for the disease consisting of a network of different gene variants is still not completely known.In the current study we generated a BAC library of the obese-prone NZO strain to clarify the genomic alteration within the gene cluster Ifi200 on chr.1 including Ifi202b, an obesity gene that is in contrast to NZO not expressed in the lean B6 mouse. With the PacBio sequencing data of NZO BAC clones we identified a deletion spanning approximately 261.8 kb in the B6 reference genome.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The value of new genome references.

Genomic information has become a ubiquitous and almost essential aspect of biological research. Over the last 10-15 years, the cost of generating sequence data from DNA or RNA samples has dramatically declined and our ability to interpret those data increased just as remarkably. Although it is still possible for biologists to conduct interesting and valuable research on species for which genomic data are not available, the impact of having access to a high quality whole genome reference assembly for a given species is nothing short of transformational. Research on a species for which we have no DNA or RNA sequence…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The MHC locus and genetic susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases.

In the past 50 years, variants in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus, also known as the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), have been reported as major risk factors for complex diseases. Recent advances, including large genetic screens, imputation, and analyses of non-additive and epistatic effects, have contributed to a better understanding of the shared and specific roles of MHC variants in different diseases. We review these advances and discuss the relationships between MHC variants involved in autoimmune and infectious diseases. Further work in this area will help to distinguish between alternative hypotheses for the role of pathogens in autoimmune disease development.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hidden genetic variation shapes the structure of functional elements in Drosophila.

Mutations that add, subtract, rearrange, or otherwise refashion genome structure often affect phenotypes, although the fragmented nature of most contemporary assemblies obscures them. To discover such mutations, we assembled the first new reference-quality genome of Drosophila melanogaster since its initial sequencing. By comparing this new genome to the existing D. melanogaster assembly, we created a structural variant map of unprecedented resolution and identified extensive genetic variation that has remained hidden until now. Many of these variants constitute candidates underlying phenotypic variation, including tandem duplications and a transposable element insertion that amplifies the expression of detoxification-related genes associated with nicotine resistance.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Understanding the genetics of APOE and TOMM40 and role of mitochondrial structure and function in clinical pharmacology of Alzheimer’s disease.

The methodology of Genome-Wide Association Screening (GWAS) has been applied for more than a decade. Translation to clinical utility has been limited, especially in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). It has become standard practice in the analyses of more than two dozen AD GWAS studies to exclude the apolipoprotein E (APOE) region because of its extraordinary statistical support, unique thus far in complex human diseases. New genes associated with AD are proposed frequently based on SNPs associated with odds ratio (OR) 

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