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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Generality of toxins in defensive symbiosis: Ribosome-inactivating proteins and defense against parasitic wasps in Drosophila.

While it has become increasingly clear that multicellular organisms often harbor microbial symbionts that protect their hosts against natural enemies, the mechanistic underpinnings underlying most defensive symbioses are largely unknown. Spiroplasma bacteria are widespread associates of terrestrial arthropods, and include strains that protect diverse Drosophila flies against parasitic wasps and nematodes. Recent work implicated a ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) encoded by Spiroplasma, and related to Shiga-like toxins in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, in defense against a virulent parasitic nematode in the woodland fly, Drosophila neotestacea. Here we test the generality of RIP-mediated protection by examining whether Spiroplasma RIPs also play a role…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Convergent evolution of Y chromosome gene content in flies.

Sex-chromosomes have formed repeatedly across Diptera from ordinary autosomes, and X-chromosomes mostly conserve their ancestral genes. Y-chromosomes are characterized by abundant gene-loss and an accumulation of repetitive DNA, yet the nature of the gene repertoire of fly Y-chromosomes is largely unknown. Here we trace gene-content evolution of Y-chromosomes across 22 Diptera species, using a subtraction pipeline that infers Y genes from male and female genome, and transcriptome data. Few genes remain on old Y-chromosomes, but the number of inferred Y-genes varies substantially between species. Young Y-chromosomes still show clear evidence of their autosomal origins, but most genes on old Y-chromosomes…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Lightweight BWT and LCP merging via the gap algorithm

Recently, Holt and McMillan [Bioinformatics 2014, ACM-BCB 2014] have proposed a simple and elegant algorithm to merge the Burrows-Wheeler transforms of a collection of strings. In this paper we show that their algorithm can be improved so that, in addition to the BWTs, it also merges the Longest Common Prefix (LCP) arrays. Because of its small memory footprint this new algorithm can be used for the final merge of BWT and LCP arrays computed by a faster but memory intensive construction algorithm.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genomics of parallel adaptation at two timescales in Drosophila.

Two interesting unanswered questions are the extent to which both the broad patterns and genetic details of adaptive divergence are repeatable across species, and the timescales over which parallel adaptation may be observed. Drosophila melanogaster is a key model system for population and evolutionary genomics. Findings from genetics and genomics suggest that recent adaptation to latitudinal environmental variation (on the timescale of hundreds or thousands of years) associated with Out-of-Africa colonization plays an important role in maintaining biological variation in the species. Additionally, studies of interspecific differences between D. melanogaster and its sister species D. simulans have revealed that a…

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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

HISEA: HIerarchical SEed Aligner for PacBio data.

The next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques have been around for over a decade. Many of their fundamental applications rely on the ability to compute good genome assemblies. As the technology evolves, the assembly algorithms and tools have to continuously adjust and improve. The currently dominant technology of Illumina produces reads that are too short to bridge many repeats, setting limits on what can be successfully assembled. The emerging SMRT (Single Molecule, Real-Time) sequencing technique from Pacific Biosciences produces uniform coverage and long reads of length up to sixty thousand base pairs, enabling significantly better genome assemblies. However, SMRT reads are…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Whole-genome sequencing recommendations

Recent technological developments have revolutionized the way we perform genetic analyses. In particular whole-genome sequencing provides access to the entire genetic makeup of an individual, and it is now an affordable approach for many research groups. As a consequence genome sequencing is pervading many fields of biological research. Sequencing technologies are evolving rapidly and so do their applications. Here we provide a first primer on whole-genome sequencing, focusing on two of the most popular applications: (1) de novo genome sequencing, in which the objective is obtaining a high-quality genome assembly that can serve as a reference for a species or…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comparative evaluation of the genomes of three common Drosophila-associated bacteria.

Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model to explore the molecular exchanges that occur between an animal intestine and associated microbes. Previous studies in Drosophila uncovered a sophisticated web of host responses to intestinal bacteria. The outcomes of these responses define critical events in the host, such as the establishment of immune responses, access to nutrients, and the rate of larval development. Despite our steady march towards illuminating the host machinery that responds to bacterial presence in the gut, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the microbial products that influence bacterial association with a fly host. We sequenced and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Contiguous and accurate de novo assembly of metazoan genomes with modest long read coverage.

Genome assemblies that are accurate, complete and contiguous are essential for identifying important structural and functional elements of genomes and for identifying genetic variation. Nevertheless, most recent genome assemblies remain incomplete and fragmented. While long molecule sequencing promises to deliver more complete genome assemblies with fewer gaps, concerns about error rates, low yields, stringent DNA requirements and uncertainty about best practices may discourage many investigators from adopting this technology. Here, in conjunction with the platinum standard Drosophila melanogaster reference genome, we analyze recently published long molecule sequencing data to identify what governs completeness and contiguity of genome assemblies. We also…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Jabba: hybrid error correction for long sequencing reads.

Third generation sequencing platforms produce longer reads with higher error rates than second generation technologies. While the improved read length can provide useful information for downstream analysis, underlying algorithms are challenged by the high error rate. Error correction methods in which accurate short reads are used to correct noisy long reads appear to be attractive to generate high-quality long reads. Methods that align short reads to long reads do not optimally use the information contained in the second generation data, and suffer from large runtimes. Recently, a new hybrid error correcting method has been proposed, where the second generation data…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Susan Celniker: Foundational resources to study a dynamic genome.

The Genetics Society of America’s George W. Beadle Award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers and who exemplify the qualities of its namesake. The 2016 recipient, Susan E. Celniker, played a key role in the sequencing, annotation, and characterization of the Drosophila genome. She participated in early sequencing efforts at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and led the modENCODE Fly Transcriptome Consortium. Her efforts were critical to ensuring that the Drosophila genome was well-annotated, making it one of the best curated animal genomes available. As the Principal Investigator for the BDGP, Celniker has…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The recombination landscape of Drosophila virilis is robust to transposon activation in hybrid dysgenesis

DNA damage in the germline is a double-edged sword. Induced double-strand breaks establish the foundation for meiotic recombination and proper chromosome segregation but can also pose a significant challenge for genome stability. Within the germline, transposable elements are powerful agents of double-strand break formation. How different types of DNA damage are resolved within the germline is poorly understood. For example, little is known about the relationship between the frequency of double-stranded breaks, both endogenous and exogenous, and the decision to repair DNA through one of the many pathways, including crossing over and gene conversion. Here we use the Drosophila virilis…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

An investigation of Y chromosome incorporations in 400 species of Drosophila and related genera.

Y chromosomes are widely believed to evolve from a normal autosome through a process of massive gene loss (with preservation of some male genes), shaped by sex-antagonistic selection and complemented by occasional gains of male-related genes. The net result of these processes is a male-specialized chromosome. This might be expected to be an irreversible process, but it was found in 2005 that the Drosophila pseudoobscura Y chromosome was incorporated into an autosome. Y chromosome incorporations have important consequences: a formerly male-restricted chromosome reverts to autosomal inheritance, and the species may shift from an XY/XX to X0/XX sex-chromosome system. In order…

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