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June 1, 2014

Co-option of Sox3 as the male-determining factor on the Y chromosome in the fish Oryzias dancena.

Sex chromosomes harbour a primary sex-determining signal that triggers sexual development of the organism. However, diverse sex chromosome systems have been evolved in vertebrates. Here we use positional cloning to identify the sex-determining locus of a medaka-related fish, Oryzias dancena, and find that the locus on the Y chromosome contains a cis-regulatory element that upregulates neighbouring Sox3 expression in developing gonad. Sex-reversed phenotypes in Sox3(Y) transgenic fish, and Sox3(Y) loss-of-function mutants all point to its critical role in sex determination. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Sox3 initiates testicular differentiation by upregulating expression of downstream Gsdf, which is highly conserved in fish…

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June 1, 2014

The oxygen-independent metabolism of cyclic monoterpenes in Castellaniella defragrans 65Phen.

The facultatively anaerobic betaproteobacterium Castellaniella defragrans 65Phen utilizes acyclic, monocyclic and bicyclic monoterpenes as sole carbon source under oxic as well as anoxic conditions. A biotransformation pathway of the acyclic ß-myrcene required linalool dehydratase-isomerase as initial enzyme acting on the hydrocarbon. An in-frame deletion mutant did not use myrcene, but was able to grow on monocyclic monoterpenes. The genome sequence and a comparative proteome analysis together with a random transposon mutagenesis were conducted to identify genes involved in the monocyclic monoterpene metabolism. Metabolites accumulating in cultures of transposon and in-frame deletion mutants disclosed the degradation pathway.Castellaniella defragrans 65Phen oxidizes the…

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June 1, 2014

Genome sequencing of two Neorhizobium galegae strains reveals a noeT gene responsible for the unusual acetylation of the nodulation factors.

The species Neorhizobium galegae comprises two symbiovars that induce nodules on Galega plants. Strains of both symbiovars, orientalis and officinalis, induce nodules on the same plant species, but fix nitrogen only in their own host species. The mechanism behind this strict host specificity is not yet known. In this study, genome sequences of representatives of the two symbiovars were produced, providing new material for studying properties of N. galegae, with a special interest in genomic differences that may play a role in host specificity.The genome sequences confirmed that the two representative strains are much alike at a whole-genome level. Analysis…

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June 1, 2014

Stenotrophomonas comparative genomics reveals genes and functions that differentiate beneficial and pathogenic bacteria.

In recent years, the number of human infections caused by opportunistic pathogens has increased dramatically. Plant rhizospheres are one of the most typical natural reservoirs for these pathogens but they also represent a great source for beneficial microbes with potential for biotechnological applications. However, understanding the natural variation and possible differences between pathogens and beneficials is the main challenge in furthering these possibilities. The genus Stenotrophomonas contains representatives found to be associated with human and plant host.We used comparative genomics as well as transcriptomic and physiological approaches to detect significant borders between the Stenotrophomonas strains: the multi-drug resistant pathogenic S.…

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June 1, 2014

Error correction and assembly complexity of single molecule sequencing reads.

Third generation single molecule sequencing technology is poised to revolutionize genomics by en- abling the sequencing of long, individual molecules of DNA and RNA. These technologies now routinely produce reads exceeding 5,000 basepairs, and can achieve reads as long as 50,000 basepairs. Here we evaluate the limits of single molecule sequencing by assessing the impact of long read sequencing in the assembly of the human genome and 25 other important genomes across the tree of life. From this, we develop a new data-driven model using support vector regression that can accurately predict assembly performance. We also present a novel hybrid…

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May 17, 2014

Accurately surveying uncultured microbial species with SMRT Sequencing

Background: Microbial ecology is reshaping our understanding of the natural world by revealing the large phylogenetic and functional diversity of microbial life. However the vast majority of these microorganisms remain poorly understood, as most cultivated representatives belong to just four phylogenetic groups and more than half of all identified phyla remain uncultivated. Characterization of this microbial ‘dark matter’ will thus greatly benefit from new metagenomic methods for in situ analysis. For example, sensitive high throughput methods for the characterization of community composition and structure from the sequencing of conserved marker genes. Methods: Here we utilize Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing…

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May 10, 2014

Quantifying genome-editing outcomes at endogenous loci with SMRT sequencing.

Targeted genome editing with engineered nucleases has transformed the ability to introduce precise sequence modifications at almost any site within the genome. A major obstacle to probing the efficiency and consequences of genome editing is that no existing method enables the frequency of different editing events to be simultaneously measured across a cell population at any endogenous genomic locus. We have developed a novel method for quantifying individual genome editing outcomes at any site of interest using single molecule real time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. We show that this approach can be applied at various loci, using multiple engineered nuclease platforms…

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May 7, 2014

Site-specific genetic engineering of the Anopheles gambiae Y chromosome.

Despite its function in sex determination and its role in driving genome evolution, the Y chromosome remains poorly understood in most species. Y chromosomes are gene-poor, repeat-rich and largely heterochromatic and therefore represent a difficult target for genetic engineering. The Y chromosome of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae appears to be involved in sex determination although very little is known about both its structure and function. Here, we characterize a transgenic strain of this mosquito species, obtained by transposon-mediated integration of a transgene construct onto the Y chromosome. Using meganuclease-induced homologous repair we introduce a site-specific recombination signal onto…

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May 1, 2014

Near perfect de novo assemblies of eukaryotic genomes using PacBio long read sequencing.

Third generation single molecule sequencing technology from Pacific Biosciences, Moleculo, Oxford Nanopore, and other companies are revolutionizing genomics by enabling the sequencing of long, individual molecules of DNA and RNA. One major advantage of these technologies over current short read sequencing is the ability to sequence much longer molecules, thousands or tens of thousands of nucleotides instead of mere hundreds. This capacity gives researchers substantially greater power to probe into microbial, plant, and animal genomes, but it remains unknown on how to best use these data. To answer this, we systematically evaluated the human genome and 25 other important genomes…

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May 1, 2014

Long-read, single-molecule applications for protein engineering.

The long read lengths of PacBio’s SMRT Sequencing enable detection of linked mutations across multiple kilobases of sequence. This feature is particularly useful in the context of protein engineering, where large numbers of similar constructs are generated routinely to explore the effects of mutations on function and stability. We have developed a PCR-based barcoded sequencing method to generate high quality, full-length sequence data for batches of constructs generated in a common backbone. Individual barcodes are coupled to primers targeting a common region of the vector of interest. The amplified products are pooled into a single DNA library, and sequencing data…

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May 1, 2014

A comparison of assemblers and strategies for complex, large-genome sequencing with PacBio long reads.

PacBio sequencing holds promise for addressing large-genome complexities, such as long, highly repetitive, low-complexity regions and duplication events that are difficult to resolve with short-read technologies. Several strategies, with varying outcomes, are available for de novo sequencing and assembling of larger genomes. Using a diploid fungal genome, estimated to be ~80 Mb in size, as the basis dataset for comparison, we highlight assembly options when using only PacBio sequencing or a combined strategy leveraging data sets from multiple sequencing technologies. Data generated from SMRT Sequencing was subjected to assembly using different large-genome assemblers, and comparisons of the results will be…

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May 1, 2014

Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas brassicacearum DF41.

Pseudomonas brassicacearum DF41, a Gram-negative soil bacterium, is able to suppress the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum through a process known as biological control. Here, we present a 6.8-Mb assembly of its genome, which is the second fully assembled genome of a P. brassicacearum strain.

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May 1, 2014

Function-based identification of mammalian enhancers using site-specific integration.

The accurate and comprehensive identification of functional regulatory sequences in mammalian genomes remains a major challenge. Here we describe site-specific integration fluorescence-activated cell sorting followed by sequencing (SIF-seq), an unbiased, medium-throughput functional assay for the discovery of distant-acting enhancers. Targeted single-copy genomic integration into pluripotent cells, reporter assays and flow cytometry are coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing to enable parallel screening of large numbers of DNA sequences. By functionally interrogating >500 kilobases (kb) of mouse and human sequence in mouse embryonic stem cells for enhancer activity we identified enhancers at pluripotency loci including NANOG. In in vitro-differentiated cardiomyocytes and neural…

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May 1, 2014

Organellar genomes of the four-toothed moss, Tetraphis pellucida.

Mosses are the largest of the three extant clades of gametophyte-dominant land plants and remain poorly studied using comparative genomic methods. Major monophyletic moss lineages are characterised by different types of a spore dehiscence apparatus called the peristome, and the most important unsolved problem in higher-level moss systematics is the branching order of these peristomate clades. Organellar genome sequencing offers the potential to resolve this issue through the provision of both genomic structural characters and a greatly increased quantity of nucleotide substitution characters, as well as to elucidate organellar evolution in mosses. We publish and describe the chloroplast and mitochondrial…

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