August 19, 2021  |  

Product Note: Fast, high-resolution DNA sizing with the Agilent Femto Pulse system

The Agilent Femto Pulse system automated pulsed-field CE instrument is a fast, high-resolution benchtop capillary electrophoresis (CE) platform that utilizes pulsed-field electrophoresis to separate high molecular weight DNA fragments. This platform allows important DNA quality checkpoints to be completed in less than 1.5 hours with minimal sample input for de novo large genome sequencing projects and other PacBio applications leveraging multi-kilobase read lengths. The instrument can be used in place of gel-based pulsed-field electrophoresis (PFGE) systems to fully support generation of large-insert SMRTbell libraries with accurate sizing to 165 kb. Alternative DNA sizing instruments cannot accurately resolve large DNA fragments in this range.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-read sequencing for rare human genetic diseases.

During the past decade, the search for pathogenic mutations in rare human genetic diseases has involved huge efforts to sequence coding regions, or the entire genome, using massively parallel short-read sequencers. However, the approximate current diagnostic rate is <50% using these approaches, and there remain many rare genetic diseases with unknown cause. There may be many reasons for this, but one plausible explanation is that the responsible mutations are in regions of the genome that are difficult to sequence using conventional technologies (e.g., tandem-repeat expansion or complex chromosomal structural aberrations). Despite the drawbacks of high cost and a shortage of standard analytical methods, several studies have analyzed pathogenic changes in the genome using long-read sequencers. The results of these studies provide hope that further application of long-read sequencers to identify the causative mutations in unsolved genetic diseases may expand our understanding of the human genome and diseases. Such approaches may also be applied to molecular diagnosis and therapeutic strategies for patients with genetic diseases in the future.


April 21, 2020  |  

Improved assembly and variant detection of a haploid human genome using single-molecule, high-fidelity long reads.

The sequence and assembly of human genomes using long-read sequencing technologies has revolutionized our understanding of structural variation and genome organization. We compared the accuracy, continuity, and gene annotation of genome assemblies generated from either high-fidelity (HiFi) or continuous long-read (CLR) datasets from the same complete hydatidiform mole human genome. We find that the HiFi sequence data assemble an additional 10% of duplicated regions and more accurately represent the structure of tandem repeats, as validated with orthogonal analyses. As a result, an additional 5 Mbp of pericentromeric sequences are recovered in the HiFi assembly, resulting in a 2.5-fold increase in the NG50 within 1 Mbp of the centromere (HiFi 480.6 kbp, CLR 191.5 kbp). Additionally, the HiFi genome assembly was generated in significantly less time with fewer computational resources than the CLR assembly. Although the HiFi assembly has significantly improved continuity and accuracy in many complex regions of the genome, it still falls short of the assembly of centromeric DNA and the largest regions of segmental duplication using existing assemblers. Despite these shortcomings, our results suggest that HiFi may be the most effective standalone technology for de novo assembly of human genomes. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/University College London.


April 21, 2020  |  

The bracteatus pineapple genome and domestication of clonally propagated crops.

Domestication of clonally propagated crops such as pineapple from South America was hypothesized to be a ‘one-step operation’. We sequenced the genome of Ananas comosus var. bracteatus CB5 and assembled 513?Mb into 25 chromosomes with 29,412 genes. Comparison of the genomes of CB5, F153 and MD2 elucidated the genomic basis of fiber production, color formation, sugar accumulation and fruit maturation. We also resequenced 89 Ananas genomes. Cultivars ‘Smooth Cayenne’ and ‘Queen’ exhibited ancient and recent admixture, while ‘Singapore Spanish’ supported a one-step operation of domestication. We identified 25 selective sweeps, including a strong sweep containing a pair of tandemly duplicated bromelain inhibitors. Four candidate genes for self-incompatibility were linked in F153, but were not functional in self-compatible CB5. Our findings support the coexistence of sexual recombination and a one-step operation in the domestication of clonally propagated crops. This work guides the exploration of sexual and asexual domestication trajectories in other clonally propagated crops.


April 21, 2020  |  

Haplotype-Resolved Cattle Genomes Provide Insights Into Structural Variation and Adaptation

We present high quality, phased genome assemblies representative of taurine and indicine cattle, subspecies that differ markedly in productivity-related traits and environmental adaptation. We report a new haplotype-aware scaffolding and polishing pipeline using contigs generated by the trio binning method to produce haplotype-resolved, chromosome-level genome assemblies of Angus (taurine) and Brahman (indicine) cattle breeds. These assemblies were used to identify structural and copy number variants that differentiate the subspecies and we found variant detection was sensitive to the specific reference genome chosen. Six gene families with immune related functions are expanded in the indicine lineage. Assembly of the genomes of both subspecies from a single individual enabled transcripts to be phased to detect allele-specific expression, and to study genome-wide selective sweeps. An indicus-specific extra copy of fatty acid desaturase is under positive selection and may contribute to indicine adaptation to heat and drought.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chlorella vulgaris genome assembly and annotation reveals the molecular basis for metabolic acclimation to high light conditions.

Chlorella vulgaris is a fast-growing fresh-water microalga cultivated at the industrial scale for applications ranging from food to biofuel production. To advance our understanding of its biology and to establish genetics tools for biotechnological manipulation, we sequenced the nuclear and organelle genomes of Chlorella vulgaris 211/11P by combining next generation sequencing and optical mapping of isolated DNA molecules. This hybrid approach allowed to assemble the nuclear genome in 14 pseudo-molecules with an N50 of 2.8 Mb and 98.9% of scaffolded genome. The integration of RNA-seq data obtained at two different irradiances of growth (high light-HL versus low light -LL) enabled to identify 10,724 nuclear genes, coding for 11,082 transcripts. Moreover 121 and 48 genes were respectively found in the chloroplast and mitochondrial genome. Functional annotation and expression analysis of nuclear, chloroplast and mitochondrial genome sequences revealed peculiar features of Chlorella vulgaris. Evidence of horizontal gene transfers from chloroplast to mitochondrial genome was observed. Furthermore, comparative transcriptomic analyses of LL vs HL provide insights into the molecular basis for metabolic rearrangement in HL vs. LL conditions leading to enhanced de novo fatty acid biosynthesis and triacylglycerol accumulation. The occurrence of a cytosolic fatty acid biosynthetic pathway can be predicted and its upregulation upon HL exposure is observed, consistent with increased lipid amount under HL. These data provide a rich genetic resource for future genome editing studies, and potential targets for biotechnological manipulation of Chlorella vulgaris or other microalgae species to improve biomass and lipid productivity.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

An improved pig reference genome sequence to enable pig genetics and genomics research

The domestic pig (Sus scrofa) is important both as a food source and as a biomedical model with high anatomical and immunological similarity to humans. The draft reference genome (Sscrofa10.2) represented a purebred female pig from a commercial pork production breed (Duroc), and was established using older clone-based sequencing methods. The Sscrofa10.2 assembly was incomplete and unresolved redundancies, short range order and orientation errors and associated misassembled genes limited its utility. We present two highly contiguous chromosome-level genome assemblies created with more recent long read technologies and a whole genome shotgun strategy, one for the same Duroc female (Sscrofa11.1) and one for an outbred, composite breed male animal commonly used for commercial pork production (USMARCv1.0). Both assemblies are of substantially higher (>90-fold) continuity and accuracy compared to the earlier reference, and the availability of two independent assemblies provided an opportunity to identify large-scale variants and to error-check the accuracy of representation of the genome. We propose that the improved Duroc breed assembly (Sscrofa11.1) become the reference genome for genomic research in pigs.


April 21, 2020  |  

A robust benchmark for germline structural variant detection

New technologies and analysis methods are enabling genomic structural variants (SVs) to be detected with ever-increasing accuracy, resolution, and comprehensiveness. Translating these methods to routine research and clinical practice requires robust benchmark sets. We developed the first benchmark set for identification of both false negative and false positive germline SVs, which complements recent efforts emphasizing increasingly comprehensive characterization of SVs. To create this benchmark for a broadly consented son in a Personal Genome Project trio with broadly available cells and DNA, the Genome in a Bottle (GIAB) Consortium integrated 19 sequence-resolved variant calling methods, both alignment- and de novo assembly-based, from short-, linked-, and long-read sequencing, as well as optical and electronic mapping. The final benchmark set contains 12745 isolated, sequence-resolved insertion and deletion calls =50 base pairs (bp) discovered by at least 2 technologies or 5 callsets, genotyped as heterozygous or homozygous variants by long reads. The Tier 1 benchmark regions, for which any extra calls are putative false positives, cover 2.66 Gbp and 9641 SVs supported by at least one diploid assembly. Support for SVs was assessed using svviz with short-, linked-, and long-read sequence data. In general, there was strong support from multiple technologies for the benchmark SVs, with 90 % of the Tier 1 SVs having support in reads from more than one technology. The Mendelian genotype error rate was 0.3 %, and genotype concordance with manual curation was >98.7 %. We demonstrate the utility of the benchmark set by showing it reliably identifies both false negatives and false positives in high-quality SV callsets from short-, linked-, and long-read sequencing and optical mapping.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Genome of the Zebra Mussel, Dreissena polymorpha: A Resource for Invasive Species Research

The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, continues to spread from its native range in Eurasia to Europe and North America, causing billions of dollars in damage and dramatically altering invaded aquatic ecosystems. Despite these impacts, there are few genomic resources for Dreissena or related bivalves, with nearly 450 million years of divergence between zebra mussels and its closest sequenced relative. Although the D. polymorpha genome is highly repetitive, we have used a combination of long-read sequencing and Hi-C-based scaffolding to generate the highest quality molluscan assembly to date. Through comparative analysis and transcriptomics experiments we have gained insights into processes that likely control the invasive success of zebra mussels, including shell formation, synthesis of byssal threads, and thermal tolerance. We identified multiple intact Steamer-Like Elements, a retrotransposon that has been linked to transmissible cancer in marine clams. We also found that D. polymorpha have an unusual 67 kb mitochondrial genome containing numerous tandem repeats, making it the largest observed in Eumetazoa. Together these findings create a rich resource for invasive species research and control efforts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome assembly provides insights into the genome evolution and flowering regulation of orchardgrass.

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) is an important forage grass for cultivating livestock worldwide. Here, we report an ~1.84-Gb chromosome-scale diploid genome assembly of orchardgrass, with a contig N50 of 0.93 Mb, a scaffold N50 of 6.08 Mb and a super-scaffold N50 of 252.52 Mb, which is the first chromosome-scale assembled genome of a cool-season forage grass. The genome includes 40 088 protein-coding genes, and 69% of the assembled sequences are transposable elements, with long terminal repeats (LTRs) being the most abundant. The LTRretrotransposons may have been activated and expanded in the grass genome in response to environmental changes during the Pleistocene between 0 and 1 million years ago. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that orchardgrass diverged after rice but before three Triticeae species, and evolutionarily conserved chromosomes were detected by analysing ancient chromosome rearrangements in these grass species. We also resequenced the whole genome of 76 orchardgrass accessions and found that germplasm from Northern Europe and East Asia clustered together, likely due to the exchange of plants along the ‘Silk Road’ or other ancient trade routes connecting the East and West. Last, a combined transcriptome, quantitative genetic and bulk segregant analysis provided insights into the genetic network regulating flowering time in orchardgrass and revealed four main candidate genes controlling this trait. This chromosome-scale genome and the online database of orchardgrass developed here will facilitate the discovery of genes controlling agronomically important traits, stimulate genetic improvement of and functional genetic research on orchardgrass and provide comparative genetic resources for other forage grasses. © 2019 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid evolution of a-gliadin gene family revealed by analyzing Gli-2 locus regions of wild emmer wheat.

a-Gliadins are a major group of gluten proteins in wheat flour that contribute to the end-use properties for food processing and contain major immunogenic epitopes that can cause serious health-related issues including celiac disease (CD). a-Gliadins are also the youngest group of gluten proteins and are encoded by a large gene family. The majority of the gene family members evolved independently in the A, B, and D genomes of different wheat species after their separation from a common ancestral species. To gain insights into the origin and evolution of these complex genes, the genomic regions of the Gli-2 loci encoding a-gliadins were characterized from the tetraploid wild emmer, a progenitor of hexaploid bread wheat that contributed the AABB genomes. Genomic sequences of Gli-2 locus regions for the wild emmer A and B genomes were first reconstructed using the genome sequence scaffolds along with optical genome maps. A total of 24 and 16 a-gliadin genes were identified for the A and B genome regions, respectively. a-Gliadin pseudogene frequencies of 86% for the A genome and 69% for the B genome were primarily caused by C to T substitutions in the highly abundant glutamine codons, resulting in the generation of premature stop codons. Comparison with the homologous regions from the hexaploid wheat cv. Chinese Spring indicated considerable sequence divergence of the two A genomes at the genomic level. In comparison, conserved regions between the two B genomes were identified that included a-gliadin pseudogenes containing shared nested TE insertions. Analyses of the genomic organization and phylogenetic tree reconstruction indicate that although orthologous gene pairs derived from speciation were present, large portions of a-gliadin genes were likely derived from differential gene duplications or deletions after the separation of the homologous wheat genomes ~?0.5 MYA. The higher number of full-length intact a-gliadin genes in hexaploid wheat than that in wild emmer suggests that human selection through domestication might have an impact on a-gliadin evolution. Our study provides insights into the rapid and dynamic evolution of genomic regions harboring the a-gliadin genes in wheat.


April 21, 2020  |  

Pseudo-chromosome length genome assembly of a double haploid ‘Bartlett’ pear (Pyrus communis L.)

We report an improved assembly and scaffolding of the European pear (Pyrus communis L.) genome (referred to as BartlettDHv2.0), obtained using a combination of Pacific Biosciences RSII Long read sequencing (PacBio), Bionano optical mapping, chromatin interaction capture (Hi-C), and genetic mapping. A total of 496.9 million bases (Mb) corresponding to 97% of the estimated genome size were assembled into 494 scaffolds. Hi-C data and a high-density genetic map allowed us to anchor and orient 87% of the sequence on the 17 chromosomes of the pear genome. About 50% (247 Mb) of the genome consists of repetitive sequences. Comparison with previous assemblies of Pyrus communis. and Pyrus x bretschneideri confirmed the presence of 37,445 protein-coding genes, which is 13% fewer than previously predicted.


April 21, 2020  |  

Convergent horizontal gene transfer and cross-talk of mobile nucleic acids in parasitic plants.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the movement and genomic integration of DNA across species boundaries, is commonly associated with bacteria and other microorganisms, but functional HGT (fHGT) is increasingly being recognized in heterotrophic parasitic plants that obtain their nutrients and water from their host plants through direct haustorial feeding. Here, in the holoparasitic stem parasite Cuscuta, we identify 108?transcribed and probably functional HGT events in Cuscuta campestris and related species, plus 42?additional regions with host-derived transposon, pseudogene and non-coding sequences. Surprisingly, 18?Cuscuta fHGTs were acquired from the same gene families by independent HGT events in Orobanchaceae parasites, and the majority are highly expressed in the haustorial feeding structures in both lineages. Convergent retention and expression of HGT sequences suggests an adaptive role for specific additional genes in parasite biology. Between 16 and 20 of the transcribed HGT events are inferred as ancestral in Cuscuta based on transcriptome sequences from species across the phylogenetic range of the genus, implicating fHGT in the successful radiation of Cuscuta parasites. Genome sequencing of C. campestris supports transfer of genomic DNA-rather than retroprocessed RNA-as the mechanism of fHGT. Many of the C. campestris genes horizontally acquired are also frequent sources of 24-nucleotide small RNAs that are typically associated with RNA-directed DNA methylation. One HGT encoding a leucine-rich repeat protein kinase overlaps with a microRNA that has been shown to regulate host gene expression, suggesting that HGT-derived parasite small RNAs may function in the parasite-host interaction. This study enriches our understanding of HGT by describing a parasite-host system with unprecedented gene exchange that points to convergent evolution of HGT events and the functional importance of horizontally transferred coding and non-coding sequences.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosome-level hybrid de novo genome assemblies as an attainable option for non-model organisms

The emergence of third generation sequencing (3GS; long-reads) is making closer the goal of chromosome-size fragments in de novo genome assemblies. This allows the exploration of new and broader questions on genome evolution for a number of non-model organisms. However, long-read technologies result in higher sequencing error rates and therefore impose an elevated cost of sufficient coverage to achieve high enough quality. In this context, hybrid assemblies, combining short-reads and long-reads provide an alternative efficient and cost-effective approach to generate de novo, chromosome-level genome assemblies. The array of available software programs for hybrid genome assembly, sequence correction and manipulation is constantly being expanded and improved. This makes it difficult for non-experts to find efficient, fast and tractable computational solutions for genome assembly, especially in the case of non-model organisms lacking a reference genome or one from a closely related species. In this study, we review and test the most recent pipelines for hybrid assemblies, comparing the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to a non-model cactophilic Drosophila, D. mojavensis. We show that it is possible to achieve excellent contiguity on this non-model organism using the DBG2OLC pipeline.


April 21, 2020  |  

Telomere-to-telomere assembly of a complete human X chromosome

After nearly two decades of improvements, the current human reference genome (GRCh38) is the most accurate and complete vertebrate genome ever produced. However, no one chromosome has been finished end to end, and hundreds of unresolved gaps persist. The remaining gaps include ribosomal rDNA arrays, large near-identical segmental duplications, and satellite DNA arrays. These regions harbor largely unexplored variation of unknown consequence, and their absence from the current reference genome can lead to experimental artifacts and hide true variants when re-sequencing additional human genomes. Here we present a de novo human genome assembly that surpasses the continuity of GRCh38, along with the first gapless, telomere-to-telomere assembly of a human chromosome. This was enabled by high-coverage, ultra-long-read nanopore sequencing of the complete hydatidiform mole CHM13 genome, combined with complementary technologies for quality improvement and validation. Focusing our efforts on the human X chromosome 3, we reconstructed the ~2.8 megabase centromeric satellite DNA array and closed all 29 remaining gaps in the current reference, including new sequence from the human pseudoautosomal regions and cancer-testis ampliconic gene families (CT-X and GAGE). This complete chromosome X, combined with the ultra-long nanopore data, also allowed us to map methylation patterns across complex tandem repeats and satellite arrays for the first time. These results demonstrate that finishing the human genome is now within reach and will enable ongoing efforts to complete the remaining human chromosomes.


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