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Monday, March 30, 2020

PAG Conference: An extreme metabolism: Iso-Seq analysis of the ruby-throated hummingbird transcriptome

Winston Timp from Johns Hopkins University studies the metabolism of hummingbirds, which sustain the highest metabolic rates among all vertebrates. Notably, hummingbirds can switch rapidly between a fuel of lipids to newly ingested sugars. This remarkable metabolism is supported by enzymes which operate at the extreme limit of catalytic efficiency. Understanding the molecular basis of enzymatic action will provide a foundation enabling rational engineering of metabolic circuits in other systems. To do this, Dr. Timp and his team generated a de novo transcriptome of the hummingbird liver using the Iso-Seq method. Characterization of the resulting protein coding sequences provides clues…

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Monday, March 30, 2020

PAG PacBio Workshop: Comparative analyses of next generation technologies for generating chromosome-level reference genome assemblies

At PAG 2017, Rockefeller University’s Erich Jarvis offered an in-depth comparison of methods for generating highly contiguous genome assemblies, using hummingbird as the basis to evaluate a number of sequencing and scaffolding technologies. Analyses include gene content, error rate, chromosome metrics, and more. Plus: a long-read look at four genes associated with vocal learning.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Immune regions are no longer incomprehensible with SMRT Sequencing

The complex immune regions of the genome, including MHC and KIR, contain large copy number variants (CNVs), a high density of genes, hyper-polymorphic gene alleles, and conserved extended haplotypes (CEH) with enormous linkage disequilibrium (LDs). This level of complexity and inherent biases of short-read sequencing make it challenging for extracting immune region haplotype information from reference-reliant, shotgun sequencing and GWAS methods. As NGS based genome and exome sequencing and SNP arrays have become a routine for population studies, numerous efforts are being made for developing software to extract and or impute the immune gene information from these datasets. Despite these…

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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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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

From RNA to full-length transcripts: The PacBio Iso-Seq method for transcriptome analysis and genome annotation

A single gene may encode a surprising number of proteins, each with a distinct biological function. This is especially true in complex eukaryotes. Short- read RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) works by physically shearing transcript isoforms into smaller pieces and bioinformatically reassembling them, leaving opportunity for misassembly or incomplete capture of the full diversity of isoforms from genes of interest. The PacBio Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq™) method employs long reads to sequence transcript isoforms from the 5’ end to their poly-A tails, eliminating the need for transcript reconstruction and inference. These long reads result in complete, unambiguous information about alternatively spliced exons, transcriptional…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Full-length transcript profiling with the Iso-Seq method for improved genome annotations

Incomplete annotation of genomes represents a major impediment to understanding biological processes, functional differences between species, and evolutionary mechanisms. Often, genes that are large, embedded within duplicated genomic regions, or associated with repeats are difficult to study by short-read expression profiling and assembly. In addition, most genes in eukaryotic organisms produce alternatively spliced isoforms, broadening the diversity of proteins encoded by the genome, which are difficult to resolve with short-read methods. Short-read RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) works by physically shearing transcript isoforms into smaller pieces and bioinformatically reassembling them, leaving opportunity for misassembly or incomplete capture of the full diversity of…

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