September 22, 2019  |  

PCR and omics based techniques to study the diversity, ecology and biology of anaerobic fungi: Insights, challenges andopportunities.

Anaerobic fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) are common inhabitants of the digestive tract of mammalian herbivores, and in the rumen, can account for up to 20% of the microbial biomass. Anaerobic fungi play a primary role in the degradation of lignocellulosic plant material. They also have a syntrophic interaction with methanogenic archaea, which increases their fiber degradation activity. To date, nine anaerobic fungal genera have been described, with further novel taxonomic groupings known to exist based on culture-independent molecular surveys. However, the true extent of their diversity may be even more extensively underestimated as anaerobic fungi continue being discovered in yet unexplored gut and non-gut environments. Additionally many studies are now known to have used primers that provide incomplete coverage of the Neocallimastigomycota. For ecological studies the internal transcribed spacer 1 region (ITS1) has been the taxonomic marker of choice, but due to various limitations the large subunit rRNA (LSU) is now being increasingly used. How the continued expansion of our knowledge regarding anaerobic fungal diversity will impact on our understanding of their biology and ecological role remains unclear; particularly as it is becoming apparent that anaerobic fungi display niche differentiation. As a consequence, there is a need to move beyond the broad generalization of anaerobic fungi as fiber-degraders, and explore the fundamental differences that underpin their ability to exist in distinct ecological niches. Application of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics to their study in pure/mixed cultures and environmental samples will be invaluable in this process. To date the genomes and transcriptomes of several characterized anaerobic fungal isolates have been successfully generated. In contrast, the application of proteomics and metabolomics to anaerobic fungal analysis is still in its infancy. A central problem for all analyses, however, is the limited functional annotation of anaerobic fungal sequence data. There is therefore an urgent need to expand information held within publicly available reference databases. Once this challenge is overcome, along with improved sample collection and extraction, the application of these techniques will be key in furthering our understanding of the ecological role and impact of anaerobic fungi in the wide range of environments they inhabit.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing and de novo assembly of a Chinese genome.

Short-read sequencing has enabled the de novo assembly of several individual human genomes, but with inherent limitations in characterizing repeat elements. Here we sequence a Chinese individual HX1 by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) long-read sequencing, construct a physical map by NanoChannel arrays and generate a de novo assembly of 2.93?Gb (contig N50: 8.3?Mb, scaffold N50: 22.0?Mb, including 39.3?Mb N-bases), together with 206?Mb of alternative haplotypes. The assembly fully or partially fills 274 (28.4%) N-gaps in the reference genome GRCh38. Comparison to GRCh38 reveals 12.8?Mb of HX1-specific sequences, including 4.1?Mb that are not present in previously reported Asian genomes. Furthermore, long-read sequencing of the transcriptome reveals novel spliced genes that are not annotated in GENCODE and are missed by short-read RNA-Seq. Our results imply that improved characterization of genome functional variation may require the use of a range of genomic technologies on diverse human populations.


September 22, 2019  |  

Improved high-quality genome assembly and annotation of Tibetan hulless barley

Background The Tibetan hulless barley (Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum), also called textquotedblleftQingketextquotedblright in Chinese and textquotedblleftNetextquotedblright in Tibetan, is the staple food for Tibetans and an important livestock feed in the Tibetan Plateau. The Tibetan hulless barley in China has about 3500 years of cultivation history, mainly produced in Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and other areas. In addition, Tibetan hulless barley has rich nutritional value and outstanding health effects, including the beta glucan, dietary fiber, amylopectin, the contents of trace elements, which are higher than any other cereal crops.Findings Here, we reported an improved high-quality assembly of Tibetan hulless barley genome with 4.0 Gb in size. We employed the falcon assembly package, scaffolding and error correction tools to finish improvement using PacBio long reads sequencing technology, with contig and scaffold N50 lengths of 1.563Mb and 4.006Mb, respectively, representing more continuous than the original Tibetan hulless barley genome nearly two orders of magnitude. We also re-annotated the new assembly, and reported 61,303 stringent confident putative protein-coding genes, of which 40,457 is HC genes. We have developed a new Tibetan hulless barley genome database (THBGD) to download and use friendly, as well as to better manage the information of the Tibetan hulless barley genetic resources.Conclusions The availability of new Tibetan hulless barley genome and annotations will take the genetics of Tibetan hulless barley to a new level and will greatly simplify the breeders effort. It will also enrich the granary of the Tibetan people.AbbreviationsBLASTBasic Local Alignment Search ToolBUSCOBenchmarking Universal Single-Copy OrthologsQVquality valuePacBioPacifc BiosciencesRNA-seqRNA sequencingNGSNext generation sequencingTGSThird generation sequencingTHBGDTibetan hulless barley Genome Database


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly and phasing of dikaryotic genomes from two isolates of Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae, the causal agent of oat crown rust.

Oat crown rust, caused by the fungus Pucinnia coronata f. sp. avenae, is a devastating disease that impacts worldwide oat production. For much of its life cycle, P. coronata f. sp. avenae is dikaryotic, with two separate haploid nuclei that may vary in virulence genotype, highlighting the importance of understanding haplotype diversity in this species. We generated highly contiguous de novo genome assemblies of two P. coronata f. sp. avenae isolates, 12SD80 and 12NC29, from long-read sequences. In total, we assembled 603 primary contigs for 12SD80, for a total assembly length of 99.16 Mbp, and 777 primary contigs for 12NC29, for a total length of 105.25 Mbp; approximately 52% of each genome was assembled into alternate haplotypes. This revealed structural variation between haplotypes in each isolate equivalent to more than 2% of the genome size, in addition to about 260,000 and 380,000 heterozygous single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 12SD80 and 12NC29, respectively. Transcript-based annotation identified 26,796 and 28,801 coding sequences for isolates 12SD80 and 12NC29, respectively, including about 7,000 allele pairs in haplotype-phased regions. Furthermore, expression profiling revealed clusters of coexpressed secreted effector candidates, and the majority of orthologous effectors between isolates showed conservation of expression patterns. However, a small subset of orthologs showed divergence in expression, which may contribute to differences in virulence between 12SD80 and 12NC29. This study provides the first haplotype-phased reference genome for a dikaryotic rust fungus as a foundation for future studies into virulence mechanisms in P. coronata f. sp. avenaeIMPORTANCE Disease management strategies for oat crown rust are challenged by the rapid evolution of Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae, which renders resistance genes in oat varieties ineffective. Despite the economic importance of understanding P. coronata f. sp. avenae, resources to study the molecular mechanisms underpinning pathogenicity and the emergence of new virulence traits are lacking. Such limitations are partly due to the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of P. coronata f. sp. avenae as well as the dikaryotic nature of the genome, features that are also shared with other important rust pathogens. This study reports the first release of a haplotype-phased genome assembly for a dikaryotic fungal species and demonstrates the amenability of using emerging technologies to investigate genetic diversity in populations of P. coronata f. sp. avenae. Copyright © 2018 Miller et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

The complete chloroplast genome of Chrysanthemum boreale (Asteraceae)

Chrysanthemum boreale is a perennial plant in the Asteraceae family that is native to eastern Asia and has both ornamental and herbal uses. Here, we determined the complete chloroplast genome sequence for C. boreale using long-read sequencing. The chloroplast genome was 151,012?bp and consisted of a large single copy (LSC) region (82,817?bp), a small single copy (SSC) region (18,281?bp) and two inverted repeats (IRs) (24,957?bp). It was predicted to contain 131 genes, including 87 protein-coding genes, eight rRNAs and 46 tRNAs. Phylogenetic analysis of chloroplast genomes clustered C. boreale with other Chrysanthemum and Asteraceae species.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo genome assembly of the red silk cotton tree (Bombax ceiba).

Bombax ceiba L. (the red silk cotton tree) is a large deciduous tree that is distributed in tropical and sub-tropical Asia as well as northern Australia. It has great economic and ecological importance, with several applications in industry and traditional medicine in many Asian countries. To facilitate further utilization of this plant resource, we present here the draft genome sequence for B. ceiba.We assembled a relatively intact genome of B. ceiba by using PacBio single-molecule sequencing and BioNano optical mapping technologies. The final draft genome is approximately 895 Mb long, with contig and scaffold N50 sizes of 1.0 Mb and 2.06 Mb, respectively.The high-quality draft genome assembly of B. ceiba will be a valuable resource enabling further genetic improvement and more effective use of this tree species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multiple large inversions and breakpoint rewiring of gene expression in the evolution of the fire ant social supergene.

Supergenes consist of co-adapted loci that segregate together and are associated with adaptive traits. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, two ‘social’ supergene variants regulate differences in colony queen number and other traits. Suppressed recombination in this system is maintained, in part, by a greater than 9 Mb inversion, but the supergene is larger. Has the supergene in S. invicta undergone multiple large inversions? The initial gene content of the inverted allele of a supergene would be the same as that of the wild-type allele. So, how did the inversion increase in frequency? To address these questions, we cloned one extreme breakpoint in the fire ant supergene. In doing so, we found a second large (greater than 800 Kb) rearrangement. Furthermore, we determined the temporal order of the two big inversions based on the translocation pattern of a third small fragment. Because the S. invicta supergene lacks evolutionary strata, our finding of multiple inversions may support an introgression model of the supergene. Finally, we showed that one of the inversions swapped the promoter of a breakpoint-adjacent gene, which might have conferred a selective advantage relative to the non-inverted allele. Our findings provide a rare example of gene alterations arising directly from an inversion event.© 2018 The Author(s).


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome of an allotetraploid wild peanut Arachis monticola: a de novo assembly.

Arachis monticola (2n = 4x = 40) is the only allotetraploid wild peanut within the Arachis genus and section, with an AABB-type genome of ~2.7 Gb in size. The AA-type subgenome is derived from diploid wild peanut Arachis duranensis, and the BB-type subgenome is derived from diploid wild peanut Arachis ipaensis. A. monticola is regarded either as the direct progenitor of the cultivated peanut or as an introgressive derivative between the cultivated peanut and wild species. The large polyploidy genome structure and enormous nearly identical regions of the genome make the assembly of chromosomal pseudomolecules very challenging. Here we report the first reference quality assembly of the A. monticola genome, using a series of advanced technologies. The final whole genome of A. monticola is ~2.62 Gb and has a contig N50 and scaffold N50 of 106.66 Kb and 124.92 Mb, respectively. The vast majority (91.83%) of the assembled sequence was anchored onto the 20 pseudo-chromosomes, and 96.07% of assemblies were accurately separated into AA- and BB- subgenomes. We demonstrated efficiency of the current state of the strategy for de novo assembly of the highly complex allotetraploid species, wild peanut (A. monticola), based on whole-genome shotgun sequencing, single molecule real-time sequencing, high-throughput chromosome conformation capture technology, and BioNano optical genome maps. These combined technologies produced reference-quality genome of the allotetraploid wild peanut, which is valuable for understanding the peanut domestication and evolution within the Arachis genus and among legume crops.


September 22, 2019  |  

Three substrains of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 display divergence in genomic sequences and hetC function.

Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 is a model strain for molecular studies of cell differentiation and patterning in heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria. Subtle differences in heterocyst development have been noticed in different laboratories working on the same organism. In this study, 360 mutations, including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), small insertion/deletions (indels; 1 to 3 bp), fragment deletions, and transpositions, were identified in the genomes of three substrains. Heterogeneous/heterozygous bases were also identified due to the polyploidy nature of the genome and the multicellular morphology but could be completely segregated when plated after filament fragmentation by sonication. hetC is a gene upregulated in developing cells during heterocyst formation in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120 and found in approximately half of other heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria. Inactivation of hetC in 3 substrains of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 led to different phenotypes: the formation of heterocysts, differentiating cells that keep dividing, or the presence of both heterocysts and dividing differentiating cells. The expression of P hetZ -gfp in these hetC mutants also showed different patterns of green fluorescent protein (GFP) fluorescence. Thus, the function of hetC is influenced by the genomic background and epistasis and constitutes an example of evolution under way.IMPORTANCE Our knowledge about the molecular genetics of heterocyst formation, an important cell differentiation process for global N2 fixation, is mostly based on studies with Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Here, we show that rapid microevolution is under way in this strain, leading to phenotypic variations for certain genes related to heterocyst development, such as hetC This study provides an example for ongoing microevolution, marked by multiple heterogeneous/heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in a multicellular multicopy-genome microorganism. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly of a young Drosophila Y chromosome using single-molecule sequencing and chromatin conformation capture.

While short-read sequencing technology has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of species with genome assemblies, these assemblies are typically highly fragmented. Repeats pose the largest challenge for reference genome assembly, and pericentromeric regions and the repeat-rich Y chromosome are typically ignored from sequencing projects. Here, we assemble the genome of Drosophila miranda using long reads for contig formation, chromatin interaction maps for scaffolding and short reads, and optical mapping and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone sequencing for consensus validation. Our assembly recovers entire chromosomes and contains large fractions of repetitive DNA, including about 41.5 Mb of pericentromeric and telomeric regions, and >100 Mb of the recently formed highly repetitive neo-Y chromosome. While Y chromosome evolution is typically characterized by global sequence loss and shrinkage, the neo-Y increased in size by almost 3-fold because of the accumulation of repetitive sequences. Our high-quality assembly allows us to reconstruct the chromosomal events that have led to the unusual sex chromosome karyotype in D. miranda, including the independent de novo formation of a pair of sex chromosomes at two distinct time points, or the reversion of a former Y chromosome to an autosome.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of the ancient tracheophyte Selaginella tamariscina reveals evolutionary features relevant to the acquisition of desiccation tolerance.

Resurrection plants, which are the “gifts” of natural evolution, are ideal models for studying the genetic basis of plant desiccation tolerance. Here, we report a high-quality genome assembly of 301 Mb for the diploid spike moss Selaginella tamariscina, a primitive vascular resurrection plant. We predicated 27 761 protein-coding genes from the assembled S. tamariscina genome, 11.38% (2363) of which showed significant expression changes in response to desiccation. Approximately 60.58% of the S. tamariscina genome was annotated as repetitive DNA, which is an almost 2-fold increase of that in the genome of desiccation-sensitive Selaginella moellendorffii. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses highlight the unique evolution and complex regulations of the desiccation response in S. tamariscina, including species-specific expansion of the oleosin and pentatricopeptide repeat gene families, unique genes and pathways for reactive oxygen species generation and scavenging, and enhanced abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and potentially distinct regulation of ABA signaling and response. Comparative analysis of chloroplast genomes of several Selaginella species revealed a unique structural rearrangement and the complete loss of chloroplast NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (NDH) genes in S. tamariscina, suggesting a link between the absence of the NDH complex and desiccation tolerance. Taken together, our comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal common and species-specific desiccation tolerance strategies in S. tamariscina, providing significant insights into the desiccation tolerance mechanism and the evolution of resurrection plants. Copyright © 2018 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Biology and genome of a newly discovered sibling species of Caenorhabditis elegans.

A ‘sibling’ species of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has long been sought for use in comparative analyses that would enable deep evolutionary interpretations of biological phenomena. Here, we describe the first sibling species of C. elegans, C. inopinata n. sp., isolated from fig syconia in Okinawa, Japan. We investigate the morphology, developmental processes and behaviour of C. inopinata, which differ significantly from those of C. elegans. The 123-Mb C. inopinata genome was sequenced and assembled into six nuclear chromosomes, allowing delineation of Caenorhabditis genome evolution and revealing unique characteristics, such as highly expanded transposable elements that might have contributed to the genome evolution of C. inopinata. In addition, C. inopinata exhibits massive gene losses in chemoreceptor gene families, which could be correlated with its limited habitat area. We have developed genetic and molecular techniques for C. inopinata; thus C. inopinata provides an exciting new platform for comparative evolutionary studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genome of Naegleria lovaniensis, the basis for a comparative approach to unravel pathogenicity factors of the human pathogenic amoeba N. fowleri.

Members of the genus Naegleria are free-living eukaryotes with the capability to transform from the amoeboid form into resting cysts or moving flagellates in response to environmental conditions. More than 40 species have been characterized, but only Naegleria fowleri (N. fowleri) is known as a human pathogen causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a fast progressing and mostly fatal disease of the central nervous system. Several studies report an involvement of phospholipases and other molecular factors, but the mechanisms involved in pathogenesis are still poorly understood. To gain a better understanding of the relationships within the genus of Naegleria and to investigate pathogenicity factors of N. fowleri, we characterized the genome of its closest non-pathogenic relative N. lovaniensis.To gain insights into the taxonomy of Naegleria, we sequenced the genome of N. lovaniensis using long read sequencing technology. The assembly of the data resulted in a 30 Mb genome including the circular mitochondrial sequence. Unravelling the phylogenetic relationship using OrthoMCL protein clustering and maximum likelihood methods confirms the close relationship of N. lovaniensis and N. fowleri. To achieve an overview of the diversity of Naegleria proteins and to assess characteristics of the human pathogen N. fowleri, OrthoMCL protein clustering including data of N. fowleri, N. lovaniensis and N. gruberi was performed. GO enrichment analysis shows an association of N. fowleri specific proteins to the GO terms “Membrane” and “Protein Secretion.”In this study, we characterize the hitherto unknown genome of N. lovaniensis. With the description of the 30 Mb genome, a further piece is added to reveal the complex taxonomic relationship of Naegleria. Further, the whole genome sequencing data confirms the hypothesis of the close relationship between N. fowleri and N. lovaniensis. Therefore, the genome of N. lovaniensis provides the basis for further comparative approaches on the molecular and genomic level to unravel pathogenicity factors of its closest human pathogenic relative N. fowleri and possible treatment options for the rare but mostly fatal primary meningoencephalitis.


September 22, 2019  |  

A draft genome assembly of the Chinese sillago (Sillago sinica), the first reference genome for Sillaginidae fishes.

Sillaginidae, also known as smelt-whitings, is a family of benthic coastal marine fishes in the Indo-West Pacific that have high ecological and economic importance. Many Sillaginidae species, including the Chinese sillago (Sillago sinica), have been recently described in China, providing valuable material to analyze genetic diversification of the family Sillaginidae. Here, we constructed a reference genome for the Chinese sillago, with the aim to set up a platform for comparative analysis of all species in this family.Using the single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing platform Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) Sequel, we generated ~27.3 Gb genomic DNA sequences for the Chinese sillago. We reconstructed a genome assembly of 534 Mb using a strategy that takes advantage of complementary strengths of two genome assembly programs, Canu and FALCON. The genome size was consistent with the estimated genome size based on k-mer analysis. The assembled genome consisted of 802 contigs with a contig N50 length of 2.6 Mb. We annotated 22,122 protein-coding genes in the Chinese sillago genomes using a de novo method as well as RNA sequencing data and homologies to other teleosts. According to the phylogenetic analysis using protein-coding genes, the Chinese sillago is closely related to Larimichthys crocea and Dicentrarchus labrax and diverged from their ancestor around 69.5-82.6 million years ago.Using long reads generated with PacBio sequencing technology, we have built a draft genome assembly for the Chinese sillago, which is the first reference genome for Sillaginidae species. This genome assembly sets a stage for comparative analysis of the diversification and adaptation of fishes in Sillaginidae.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assembling the genome of the African wild rice Oryza longistaminata by exploiting synteny in closely related Oryza species.

The African wild rice species Oryza longistaminata has several beneficial traits compared to cultivated rice species, such as resistance to biotic stresses, clonal propagation via rhizomes, and increased biomass production. To facilitate breeding efforts and functional genomics studies, we de-novo assembled a high-quality, haploid-phased genome. Here, we present our assembly, with a total length of 351?Mb, of which 92.2% was anchored onto 12 chromosomes. We detected 34,389 genes and 38.1% of the genome consisted of repetitive content. We validated our assembly by a comparative linkage analysis and by examining well-characterized gene families. This genome assembly will be a useful resource to exploit beneficial alleles found in O. longistaminata. Our results also show that it is possible to generate a high-quality, functionally complete rice genome assembly from moderate SMRT read coverage by exploiting synteny in a closely related Oryza species.


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