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Monday, March 30, 2020

PAG PacBio Workshop: Conservation genomics of a critically endangered Hawaiian bird: A high quality genome assembly of the ‘alala will assist in population management and reintroduction

Oliver Ryder speaks about efforts to rescue the Hawaiian crow, a bird that has been extinct in the wild since 2002, and reintroduce it to its native habitat. Critical to this work is a new SMRT Sequencing reference genome assembly, which Ryder says is already one of the best avian assemblies out there. The resource may help deal with challenges like inbreeding and disease susceptibility.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

PAG PacBio Workshop: Resolving the complexity of genomic and epigenomic variations in arabidopsis

Chongyuan Luo from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies describes sequencing three strains of Arabidopsis thaliana using PacBio technology. The goal: uncover structural variants that have been missed by short-read and other sequencers. Luo notes that PacBio sequencing provides highly accurate SNP detection and also extends the mappability of reads beyond what is possible with short-read data, producing better and more accurate assemblies.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

PAG PacBio Workshop: De novo sequencing of the koala genome

Rebecca Johnson, director of the Australian Museum Research Institute presents finding from de novo sequencing of the koala genome. Using PacBio sequencing the Koala Genome Consortium obtained an assembly with an N50 of 11.5 Mbp and have undertaken functional genomic analysis highlighting the unique genes associated with lactation and immune function of koalas. Johnson goes on to describe efforts to obtain a chromosome level assembly and current work using ‘super scaffolding’ to compare shared synteny across diverse lineages to generate chromosome scaffold maps.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Accurately surveying uncultured microbial species with SMRT Sequencing

Background: Microbial ecology is reshaping our understanding of the natural world by revealing the large phylogenetic and functional diversity of microbial life. However the vast majority of these microorganisms remain poorly understood, as most cultivated representatives belong to just four phylogenetic groups and more than half of all identified phyla remain uncultivated. Characterization of this microbial ‘dark matter’ will thus greatly benefit from new metagenomic methods for in situ analysis. For example, sensitive high throughput methods for the characterization of community composition and structure from the sequencing of conserved marker genes. Methods: Here we utilize Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

SMRT Sequencing of the alala genome

Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing was used to generate long reads for whole genome shotgun sequencing of the genome of the`alala (Hawaiian crow). The ‘alala is endemic to Hawaii, and the only surviving lineage of the crow family, Corvidae, in the Hawaiian Islands. The population declined to less than 20 individuals in the 1990s, and today this charismatic species is extinct in the wild. Currently existing in only two captive breeding facilities, reintroduction of the ‘alala is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2016. Reintroduction efforts will be assisted by information from the ‘alala genome generated and assembled by…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

De novo PacBio long-read assembled avian genomes correct and add to genes important in neuroscience and conservation research

To test the impact of high-quality genome assemblies on biological research, we applied PacBio long-read sequencing in conjunction with the new, diploid-aware FALCON-Unzip assembler to a number of bird species. These included: the zebra finch, for which a consortium-generated, Sanger-based reference exists, to determine how the FALCON-Unzip assembly would compare to the current best references available; Anna’s hummingbird genome, which had been assembled with short-read sequencing methods as part of the Avian Phylogenomics phase I initiative; and two critically endangered bird species (kakapo and ‘alala) of high importance for conservations efforts, whose genomes had not previously been sequenced and assembled.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire.

Cultivated bacteria such as actinomycetes are a highly useful source of biomedically important natural products. However, such ‘talented’ producers represent only a minute fraction of the entire, mostly uncultivated, prokaryotic diversity. The uncultured majority is generally perceived as a large, untapped resource of new drug candidates, but so far it is unknown whether taxa containing talented bacteria indeed exist. Here we report the single-cell- and metagenomics-based discovery of such producers. Two phylotypes of the candidate genus ‘Entotheonella’ with genomes of greater than 9 megabases and multiple, distinct biosynthetic gene clusters co-inhabit the chemically and microbially rich marine sponge Theonella swinhoei.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Differential responses of total and active soil microbial communities to long-term experimental N deposition

Abstract The relationship between total and metabolically active soil microbial communities can provide insight into how these communities are impacted by environmental change, which may impact the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients in the future. For example, the anthropogenic release of biologically available N has dramatically increased over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan, USA, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. A microbial mechanism underlies this response,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Microbial phylogenetic profiling with the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform.

High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons has revolutionized the capacity and depth of microbial community profiling. Several sequencing platforms are available, but most phylogenetic studies are performed on the 454-pyrosequencing platform because its longer reads can give finer phylogenetic resolution. The Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platform is significantly less expensive per run, does not rely on amplification for library generation, and generates reads that are, on average, four times longer than those from 454 (C2 chemistry), but the resulting high error rates appear to preclude its use in phylogenetic profiling. Recently, however, the PacBio platform was used to characterize…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A microbial clock provides an accurate estimate of the postmortem interval in a mouse model system.

Establishing the time since death is critical in every death investigation, yet existing techniques are susceptible to a range of errors and biases. For example, forensic entomology is widely used to assess the postmortem interval (PMI), but errors can range from days to months. Microbes may provide a novel method for estimating PMI that avoids many of these limitations. Here we show that postmortem microbial community changes are dramatic, measurable, and repeatable in a mouse model system, allowing PMI to be estimated within approximately 3 days over 48 days. Our results provide a detailed understanding of bacterial and microbial eukaryotic…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microbial communities are shaped by plant-driven changes in resource availability during secondary succession.

Although we understand the ecological processes eliciting changes in plant community composition during secondary succession, we do not understand whether co-occurring changes in plant detritus shape saprotrophic microbial communities in soil. In this study, we investigated soil microbial composition and function across an old-field chronosequence ranging from 16 to 86 years following agricultural abandonment, as well as three forests representing potential late-successional ecosystems. Fungal and bacterial community composition was quantified from ribosomal DNA, and insight into the functional potential of the microbial community to decay plant litter was gained from shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Accumulation of soil organic…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single cell genomic study of Dehalococcoidetes species from deep-sea sediments of the Peruvian Margin.

The phylum Chloroflexi is one of the most frequently detected phyla in the subseafloor of the Pacific Ocean margins. Dehalogenating Chloroflexi (Dehalococcoidetes) was originally discovered as the key microorganisms mediating reductive dehalogenation via their key enzymes reductive dehalogenases (Rdh) as sole mode of energy conservation in terrestrial environments. The frequent detection of Dehalococcoidetes-related 16S rRNA and rdh genes in the marine subsurface implies a role for dissimilatory dehalorespiration in this environment; however, the two genes have never been linked to each other. To provide fundamental insights into the metabolism, genomic population structure and evolution of marine subsurface Dehalococcoidetes sp., we…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Next generation multilocus sequence typing (NGMLST) and the analytical software program MLSTEZ enable efficient, cost-effective, high-throughput, multilocus sequencing typing.

Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has become the preferred method for genotyping many biological species, and it is especially useful for analyzing haploid eukaryotes. MLST is rigorous, reproducible, and informative, and MLST genotyping has been shown to identify major phylogenetic clades, molecular groups, or subpopulations of a species, as well as individual strains or clones. MLST molecular types often correlate with important phenotypes. Conventional MLST involves the extraction of genomic DNA and the amplification by PCR of several conserved, unlinked gene sequences from a sample of isolates of the taxon under investigation. In some cases, as few as three loci are…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Complex effects of mammalian grazing on extramatrical mycelial biomass in the Scandes forest-tundra ecotone.

Mycorrhizal associations are widespread in high-latitude ecosystems and are potentially of great importance for global carbon dynamics. Although large herbivores play a key part in shaping subarctic plant communities, their impact on mycorrhizal dynamics is largely unknown. We measured extramatrical mycelial (EMM) biomass during one growing season in 16-year-old herbivore exclosures and unenclosed control plots (ambient), at three mountain birch forests and two shrub heath sites, in the Scandes forest-tundra ecotone. We also used high-throughput amplicon sequencing for taxonomic identification to investigate differences in fungal species composition. At the birch forest sites, EMM biomass was significantly higher in exclosures (1.36 ± 0.43 g…

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