July 7, 2019  |  

ThermoAlign: a genome-aware primer design tool for tiled amplicon resequencing.

Isolating and sequencing specific regions in a genome is a cornerstone of molecular biology. This has been facilitated by computationally encoding the thermodynamics of DNA hybridization for automated design of hybridization and priming oligonucleotides. However, the repetitive composition of genomes challenges the identification of target-specific oligonucleotides, which limits genetics and genomics research on many species. Here, a tool called ThermoAlign was developed that ensures the design of target-specific primer pairs for DNA amplification. This is achieved by evaluating the thermodynamics of hybridization for full-length oligonucleotide-template alignments – thermoalignments – across the genome to identify primers predicted to bind specifically to the target site. For amplification-based resequencing of regions that cannot be amplified by a single primer pair, a directed graph analysis method is used to identify minimum amplicon tiling paths. Laboratory validation by standard and long-range polymerase chain reaction and amplicon resequencing with maize, one of the most repetitive genomes sequenced to date (˜85% repeat content), demonstrated the specificity-by-design functionality of ThermoAlign. ThermoAlign is released under an open source license and bundled in a dependency-free container for wide distribution. It is anticipated that this tool will facilitate multiple applications in genetics and genomics and be useful in the workflow of high-throughput targeted resequencing studies.


July 7, 2019  |  

MHC class I diversity in chimpanzees and bonobos.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes are critically involved in the defense against intracellular pathogens. MHC diversity comparisons among samples of closely related taxa may reveal traces of past or ongoing selective processes. The bonobo and chimpanzee are the closest living evolutionary relatives of humans and last shared a common ancestor some 1 mya. However, little is known concerning MHC class I diversity in bonobos or in central chimpanzees, the most numerous and genetically diverse chimpanzee subspecies. Here, we used a long-read sequencing technology (PacBio) to sequence the classical MHC class I genes A, B, C, and A-like in 20 and 30 wild-born bonobos and chimpanzees, respectively, with a main focus on central chimpanzees to assess and compare diversity in those two species. We describe in total 21 and 42 novel coding region sequences for the two species, respectively. In addition, we found evidence for a reduced MHC class I diversity in bonobos as compared to central chimpanzees as well as to western chimpanzees and humans. The reduced bonobo MHC class I diversity may be the result of a selective process in their evolutionary past since their split from chimpanzees.


July 7, 2019  |  

Archetype JC polyomavirus prevails in a rare case of JC polyomavirus nephropathy and in stable renal transplant recipients with JC polyomavirus viruria.

JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is reactivated in approximately 20% of renal transplant recipients and it may rarely cause JCPyV-associated nephropathy (JCPyVAN). Whereas progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy of the brain is caused by rearranged neurotropic JCPyV, little is known about viral sequence variation in JCPyVAN due to the rarity of this condition.Using single-molecule real-time sequencing, characterization of full-length JCPyV genomes from urine and plasma of one JCPyVAN patient and twenty stable renal transplant recipients with JCPyV viruria was attempted. Sequence analysis of JCPyV strains was performed with the emphasis on the NCCR region, the major capsid protein gene VP1 and the large T antigen (LTag) gene.Exclusively archetype strains were identified in urine of the JCPyVAN patient. Full-length JCPyV sequences were not retrieved from plasma. Archetype strains were found in urine of nineteen stable renal transplant recipients, with JCPyV quasispecies detected in five samples. In a patient with minor graft dysfunction, a strain with archetype-like NCCR region was discovered. Individual point mutations were detected in both VP1 and LTag genes.Archetype JCPyV was dominant in the JCPyVAN patient and in stable renal transplant recipients. Archetype rather than rearranged JCPyV seems to drive the pathogenesis of JCPyVAN.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of the Neethling-like lumpy skin disease virus strains obtained directly from three commercial live attenuated vaccines.

Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) causes an economically important disease in cattle. Here, we report the complete genome sequences of three LSDV strains obtained directly from the live attenuated vaccines: Lumpyvax (MSD Animal Health), Herbivac LS (Deltamune) and Lumpy Skin Disease Vaccine (Onderstepoort Biological Products). Copyright © 2016 Mathijs et al.


January 23, 2017  |  

Tutorial: Long Amplicon Analysis application

This tutorial provides an overview of the Long Amplicon Analysis (LAA) application. The LAA algorithm generates highly accurate, phased and full-length consensus sequences from long amplicons. Applications of LAA include…


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