June 1, 2021  |  

De novo assembly and preliminary annotation of the Schizocardium californicum genome

Animals in the phylum Hemichordata have provided key understanding of the origins and development of body patterning and nervous system organization. However, efforts to sequence and assemble the genomes of highly heterozygous non-model organisms have proven to be difficult with traditional short read approaches. Long repetitive DNA structures, extensive structural variation between haplotypes in polyploid species, and large genome sizes are limiting factors to achieving highly contiguous genome assemblies. Here we present the highly contiguous de novo assembly and preliminary annotation of an indirect developing hemichordate genome, Schizocardium californicum, using SMRT Sequening long reads.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comprehensive evaluation of non-hybrid genome assembly tools for third-generation PacBio long-read sequence data.

Long reads obtained from third-generation sequencing platforms can help overcome the long-standing challenge of the de novo assembly of sequences for the genomic analysis of non-model eukaryotic organisms. Numerous long-read-aided de novo assemblies have been published recently, which exhibited superior quality of the assembled genomes in comparison with those achieved using earlier second-generation sequencing technologies. Evaluating assemblies is important in guiding the appropriate choice for specific research needs. In this study, we evaluated 10 long-read assemblers using a variety of metrics on Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) data sets from different taxonomic categories with considerable differences in genome size. The results allowed us to narrow down the list to a few assemblers that can be effectively applied to eukaryotic assembly projects. Moreover, we highlight how best to use limited genomic resources for effectively evaluating the genome assemblies of non-model organisms. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Robust and effective methodologies for cryopreservation and DNA extraction from anaerobic gut fungi.

Cell storage and DNA isolation are essential to developing an expanded suite of microorganisms for biotechnology. However, many features of non-model microbes, such as an anaerobic lifestyle and rigid cell wall, present formidable challenges to creating strain repositories and extracting high quality genomic DNA. Here, we establish accessible, high efficiency, and robust techniques to store lignocellulolytic anaerobic gut fungi long term without specialized equipment. Using glycerol as a cryoprotectant, gut fungal isolates were preserved for a minimum of 23 months at -80 °C. Unlike previously reported approaches, this improved protocol is non-toxic and rapid, with samples surviving twice as long with negligible growth impact. Genomic DNA extraction for these isolates was optimized to yield samples compatible with next generation sequencing platforms (e.g. Illumina, PacBio). Popular DNA isolation kits and precipitation protocols yielded preps that were unsuitable for sequencing due to carbohydrate contaminants from the chitin-rich cell wall and extensive energy reserves of gut fungi. To address this, we identified a proprietary method optimized for hardy plant samples that rapidly yielded DNA fragments in excess of 10 kb with minimal RNA, protein or carbohydrate contamination. Collectively, these techniques serve as fundamental tools to manipulate powerful biomass-degrading gut fungi and improve their accessibility among researchers. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

A workflow for studying specialized metabolism in nonmodel eukaryotic organisms

Eukaryotes contain a diverse tapestry of specialized metabolites, many of which are of significant pharmaceutical and industrial importance to humans. Nevertheless, exploration of specialized metabolic pathways underlying specific chemical traits in nonmodel eukaryotic organisms has been technically challenging and historically lagged behind that of the bacterial systems. Recent advances in genomics, metabolomics, phylogenomics, and synthetic biology now enable a new workflow for interrogating unknown specialized metabolic systems in nonmodel eukaryotic hosts with greater efficiency and mechanistic depth. This chapter delineates such workflow by providing a collection of state-of-the-art approaches and tools, ranging from multiomics-guided candidate gene identification to in vitro and in vivo functional and structural characterization of specialized metabolic enzymes. As already demonstrated by several recent studies, this new workflow opens up a gateway into the largely untapped world of natural product biochemistry in eukaryotes. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Exploiting single-molecule transcript sequencing for eukaryotic gene prediction.

We develop a method to predict and validate gene models using PacBio single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) cDNA reads. Ninety-eight percent of full-insert SMRT reads span complete open reading frames. Gene model validation using SMRT reads is developed as automated process. Optimized training and prediction settings and mRNA-seq noise reduction of assisting Illumina reads results in increased gene prediction sensitivity and precision. Additionally, we present an improved gene set for sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) and the first genome-wide gene set for spinach (Spinacia oleracea). The workflow and guidelines are a valuable resource to obtain comprehensive gene sets for newly sequenced genomes of non-model eukaryotes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-molecule long-read transcriptome dataset of halophyte Halogeton glomeratus.

Soil salinization has become a major challenge for sustainable development of global agriculture. As a result, cultivation of salt-tolerant crop varieties has become a focus of plant breeding. However, development of effective breeding strategies would be significantly enhanced by improving our understanding of salt tolerance mechanisms in plants and identifying genes required for adaptation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Vertebrate genome evolution in the light of fish cytogenomics and rDNAomics.

To understand the cytogenomic evolution of vertebrates, we must first unravel the complex genomes of fishes, which were the first vertebrates to evolve and were ancestors to all other vertebrates. We must not forget the immense time span during which the fish genomes had to evolve. Fish cytogenomics is endowed with unique features which offer irreplaceable insights into the evolution of the vertebrate genome. Due to the general DNA base compositional homogeneity of fish genomes, fish cytogenomics is largely based on mapping DNA repeats that still represent serious obstacles in genome sequencing and assembling, even in model species. Localization of repeats on chromosomes of hundreds of fish species and populations originating from diversified environments have revealed the biological importance of this genomic fraction. Ribosomal genes (rDNA) belong to the most informative repeats and in fish, they are subject to a more relaxed regulation than in higher vertebrates. This can result in formation of a literal ‘rDNAome’ consisting of more than 20,000 copies with their high proportion employed in extra-coding functions. Because rDNA has high rates of transcription and recombination, it contributes to genome diversification and can form reproductive barrier. Our overall knowledge of fish cytogenomics grows rapidly by a continuously increasing number of fish genomes sequenced and by use of novel sequencing methods improving genome assembly. The recently revealed exceptional compositional heterogeneity in an ancient fish lineage (gars) sheds new light on the compositional genome evolution in vertebrates generally. We highlight the power of synergy of cytogenetics and genomics in fish cytogenomics, its potential to understand the complexity of genome evolution in vertebrates, which is also linked to clinical applications and the chromosomal backgrounds of speciation. We also summarize the current knowledge on fish cytogenomics and outline its main future avenues.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic architecture of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) shows expansions of innate immune genes and short tandem repeats.

Increased availability of genome assemblies for non-model organisms has resulted in invaluable biological and genomic insight into numerous vertebrates, including teleosts. Sequencing of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) genome and the genomes of many of its relatives (Gadiformes) demonstrated a shared loss of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II genes 100 million years ago. An improved version of the Atlantic cod genome assembly shows an extreme density of tandem repeats compared to other vertebrate genome assemblies. Highly contiguous assemblies are therefore needed to further investigate the unusual immune system of the Gadiformes, and whether the high density of tandem repeats found in Atlantic cod is a shared trait in this group.Here, we have sequenced and assembled the genome of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) – a relative of Atlantic cod – using a combination of PacBio and Illumina reads. Comparative analyses reveal that the haddock genome contains an even higher density of tandem repeats outside and within protein coding sequences than Atlantic cod. Further, both species show an elevated number of tandem repeats in genes mainly involved in signal transduction compared to other teleosts. A characterization of the immune gene repertoire demonstrates a substantial expansion of MCHI in Atlantic cod compared to haddock. In contrast, the Toll-like receptors show a similar pattern of gene losses and expansions. For the NOD-like receptors (NLRs), another gene family associated with the innate immune system, we find a large expansion common to all teleosts, with possible lineage-specific expansions in zebrafish, stickleback and the codfishes.The generation of a highly contiguous genome assembly of haddock revealed that the high density of short tandem repeats as well as expanded immune gene families is not unique to Atlantic cod – but possibly a feature common to all, or most, codfishes. A shared expansion of NLR genes in teleosts suggests that the NLRs have a more substantial role in the innate immunity of teleosts than other vertebrates. Moreover, we find that high copy number genes combined with variable genome assembly qualities may impede complete characterization of these genes, i.e. the number of NLRs in different teleost species might be underestimates.


July 19, 2019  |  

Microsatellite marker discovery using single molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences RS.

Microsatellite sequences are important markers for population genetics studies. In the past, the development of adequate microsatellite primers has been cumbersome. However with the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies, marker identification in genomes of non-model species has been greatly simplified. Here we describe microsatellite discovery on a Pacific Biosciences single molecule real-time sequencer. For the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), we identified 316 microsatellite loci in a single genome shotgun sequencing experiment. We found that the capability of handling large insert sizes and high quality circular consensus sequences provides an advantage over short read technologies for primer design. Combined with a straightforward amplification-free library preparation, PacBio sequencing is an economically viable alternative for microsatellite discovery and subsequent PCR primer design.


July 19, 2019  |  

The utility of PacBio circular consensus sequencing for characterizing complex gene families in non-model organisms.

Molecular characterization of highly diverse gene families can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult, especially when considering the potential for relatively large numbers of paralogs and/or pseudogenes. Here we investigate the utility of Pacific Biosciences single molecule real-time (SMRT) circular consensus sequencing (CCS) as an alternative to traditional cloning and Sanger sequencing PCR amplicons for gene family characterization. We target vomeronasal gene receptors, one of the most diverse gene families in mammals, with the goal of better understanding intra-specific V1R diversity of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). Our study compares intragenomic variation for two V1R subfamilies found in the mouse lemur. Specifically, we compare gene copy variation within and between two individuals of M. murinus as characterized by different methods for nucleotide sequencing. By including the same individual animal from which the M. murinus draft genome was derived, we are able to cross-validate gene copy estimates from Sanger sequencing versus CCS methods.We generated 34,088 high quality circular consensus sequences of two diverse V1R subfamilies (here referred to as V1RI and V1RIX) from two individuals of Microcebus murinus. Using a minimum threshold of 7× coverage, we recovered approximately 90% of V1RI sequences previously identified in the draft M. murinus genome (59% being identical at all nucleotide positions). When low coverage sequences were considered (i.e. < 7× coverage) 100% of V1RI sequences identified in the draft genome were recovered. At least 13 putatively novel V1R loci were also identified using CCS technology.Recent upgrades to the Pacific Biosciences RS instrument have improved the CCS technology and offer an alternative to traditional sequencing approaches. Our results suggest that the Microcebus murinus V1R repertoire has been underestimated in the draft genome. In addition to providing an improved understanding of V1R diversity in the mouse lemur, this study demonstrates the utility of CCS technology for characterizing complex regions of the genome. We anticipate that long-read sequencing technologies such as PacBio SMRT will allow for the assembly of multigene family clusters and serve to more accurately characterize patterns of gene copy variation in large gene families, thus revealing novel micro-evolutionary patterns within non-model organisms.


July 19, 2019  |  

Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae.

Sex chromosomes in plants and animals and fungal mating-type chromosomes often show exceptional genome features, with extensive suppression of homologous recombination and cytological differentiation between members of the diploid chromosome pair. Despite strong interest in the genetics of these chromosomes, their large regions of suppressed recombination often are enriched in transposable elements and therefore can be challenging to assemble. Here we show that the latest improvements of the PacBio sequencing yield assembly of the whole genome of the anther-smut fungus, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (the pathogenic fungus causing anther-smut disease of Silene latifolia), into finished chromosomes or chromosome arms, even for the repeat-rich mating-type chromosomes and centromeres. Suppressed recombination of the mating-type chromosomes is revealed to span nearly 90% of their lengths, with extreme levels of rearrangements, transposable element accumulation, and differentiation between the two mating types. We observed no correlation between allelic divergence and physical position in the nonrecombining regions of the mating-type chromosomes. This may result from gene conversion or from rearrangements of ancient evolutionary strata, i.e., successive steps of suppressed recombination. Centromeres were found to be composed mainly of copia-like transposable elements and to possess specific minisatellite repeats identical between the different chromosomes. We also identified subtelomeric motifs. In addition, extensive signs of degeneration were detected in the nonrecombining regions in the form of transposable element accumulation and of hundreds of gene losses on each mating-type chromosome. Furthermore, our study highlights the potential of the latest breakthrough PacBio chemistry to resolve complex genome architectures. Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.


July 7, 2019  |  

The effects of read length, quality and quantity on microsatellite discovery and primer development: from Illumina to PacBio.

The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has transformed the way microsatellites are isolated for ecological and evolutionary investigations. Recent attempts to employ NGS for microsatellite discovery have used the 454, Illumina, and Ion Torrent platforms, but other methods including single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing (Pacific Biosciences or PacBio) remain viable alternatives. We outline a workflow from sequence quality control to microsatellite marker validation in three plant species using PacBio circular consensus sequencing (CCS). We then evaluate the performance of PacBio CCS in comparison with other NGS platforms for microsatellite isolation, through simulations that focus on variations in read length, read quantity and sequencing error rate. Although quality control of CCS reads reduced microsatellite yield by around 50%, hundreds of microsatellite loci that are expected to have improved conversion efficiency to functional markers were retrieved for each species. The simulations quantitatively validate the advantages of long reads and emphasize the detrimental effects of sequencing errors on NGS-enabled microsatellite development. In view of the continuing improvement in read length on NGS platforms, sequence quality and the corresponding strategies of quality control will become the primary factors to consider for effective microsatellite isolation. Among current options, PacBio CCS may be optimal for rapid, small-scale microsatellite development due to its flexibility in scaling sequencing effort, while platforms such as Illumina MiSeq will provide cost-efficient solutions for multispecies microsatellite projects. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Get your high-quality low-cost genome sequence.

The study of whole-genome sequences has become essential for almost all branches of biological research. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the scalability, speed, and resolution of sequencing and brought genomic science within reach of academic laboratories that study non-model organisms. Here, we show that a high-quality draft genome of a eukaryote can be obtained at relatively low cost by exploiting a hybrid combination of sequencing strategies. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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