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December 1, 2015

No assembly required: Full-length MHC class I allele discovery by PacBio circular consensus sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology with the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II platform offers the potential to obtain full-length coding regions (~1100-bp) from MHC class I cDNAs. Despite the relatively high error rate associated with SMRT technology, high quality sequences can be obtained by circular consensus sequencing (CCS) due to the random nature of the error profile. In the present study we first validated the ability of SMRT-CCS to accurately identify class I transcripts in Mauritian-origin cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that have been characterized previously by cloning and Sanger-based sequencing as well as pyrosequencing approaches. We then applied this SMRT-CCS…

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November 16, 2015

The genomic sequence of lymphocryptovirus from cynomolgus macaque.

Lymphocryptoviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) cause persistent infections in human and non-human primates, and suppression of the immune system can increase the risk of lymphocryptovirus (LCV)-associated tumor development in both human and non-human primates. To enable LCV infection as a non-clinical model to study effects of therapeutics on EBV immunity, we determined the genomic DNA sequence of the LCV from cynomolgus macaque, a species commonly used for non-clinical testing. Comparison to rhesus macaque LCV and human EBV sequences indicates that LCV from the cynomolgus macaque has the same genomic arrangement and a high degree of similarity in most genes,…

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September 1, 2015

Emergence of ebola virus escape variants in infected nonhuman primates treated with the MB-003 antibody cocktail.

MB-003, a plant-derived monoclonal antibody cocktail used effectively in treatment of Ebola virus infection in non-human primates, was unable to protect two of six animals when initiated 1 or 2 days post-infection. We characterized a mechanism of viral escape in one of the animals, after observation of two clusters of genomic mutations that resulted in five nonsynonymous mutations in the monoclonal antibody target sites. These mutations were linked to a reduction in antibody binding and later confirmed to be present in a viral isolate that was not neutralized in vitro. Retrospective evaluation of a second independent study allowed the identification of a…

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July 1, 2015

Emergence, retention and selection: A trilogy of origination for functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs in primates.

While some human-specific protein-coding genes have been proposed to originate from ancestral lncRNAs, the transition process remains poorly understood. Here we identified 64 hominoid-specific de novo genes and report a mechanism for the origination of functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs with precise splicing structures and specific tissue expression profiles. Whole-genome sequencing of dozens of rhesus macaque animals revealed that these lncRNAs are generally not more selectively constrained than other lncRNA loci. The existence of these newly-originated de novo proteins is also not beyond anticipation under neutral expectation, as they generally have longer theoretical lifespan than their current age,…

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May 1, 2015

Molecular characterization of plasmid pMoma1of Moraxella macacae, a newly described bacterial pathogen of macaques.

We report the complete nucleotide sequence and characterization of a small cryptic plasmid of Moraxella macacae 0408225, a newly described bacterial species within the family Moraxellaceae and a causative agent of epistaxis in macaques. The complete nucleotide sequence of the plasmid pMoma1 was determined and found to be 5,375 bp in size with a GC content of 37.4 %. Computer analysis of the sequence data revealed five open reading frames encoding putative proteins of 54.4 kDa (ORF1), 17.6 kDa (ORF2), 13.3 kDa (ORF3), 51.6 kDa (ORF4), and 25.0 kDa (ORF5). ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3 encode putative proteins with high identity…

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December 1, 2014

Palindromic GOLGA8 core duplicons promote chromosome 15q13.3 microdeletion and evolutionary instability.

Recurrent deletions of chromosome 15q13.3 associate with intellectual disability, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy. To gain insight into the instability of this region, we sequenced it in affected individuals, normal individuals and nonhuman primates. We discovered five structural configurations of the human chromosome 15q13.3 region ranging in size from 2 to 3 Mb. These configurations arose recently (~0.5-0.9 million years ago) as a result of human-specific expansions of segmental duplications and two independent inversion events. All inversion breakpoints map near GOLGA8 core duplicons-a ~14-kb primate-specific chromosome 15 repeat that became organized into larger palindromic structures. GOLGA8-flanked palindromes also demarcate the breakpoints…

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November 1, 2014

Next-generation approaches to advancing eco-immunogenomic research in critically endangered primates.

High-throughput sequencing platforms are generating massive amounts of genomic data from nonmodel species, and these data sets are valuable resources that can be mined to advance a number of research areas. An example is the growing amount of transcriptome data that allow for examination of gene expression in nonmodel species. Here, we show how publicly available transcriptome data from nonmodel primates can be used to design novel research focused on immunogenomics. We mined transcriptome data from the world's most endangered group of primates, the lemurs of Madagascar, for sequences corresponding to immunoglobulins. Our results confirmed homology between strepsirrhine and haplorrhine…

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October 20, 2014

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Resolving complexity of the human genome

Evan Eichler, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator from the University of Washington discusses his use of the PacBio system to study difficult-to-sequence regions of the human and chimp genomes. Eichler has identified a number of rapidly evolving hot spots in the human genome that are associated with disease. These regions are quite long and have extremely repetitive DNA sequence, making them difficult to elucidate with short-read sequencing and very expensive to interrogate with Sanger sequencing. Eichler's goal is to fill in the missing regions of the human genome reference, many of which contain segmental duplications.

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August 1, 2014

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…

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March 1, 2014

Technology: SMRT move?

One of the major challenges of de novo mammalian genome assembly arises from the presence of large, interspersed segmental duplications with high levels of sequence identity. These regions are particularly difficult to assemble using current short-read high-throughput sequencing methods. Combining long-read single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing with a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP), as well as the consensus and variant caller Quiver, enabled these complex genomic regions to be resolved in a more cost-and time-effective manner than previously possible.

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January 1, 2014

Reconstructing complex regions of genomes using long-read sequencing technology.

Obtaining high-quality sequence continuity of complex regions of recent segmental duplication remains one of the major challenges of finishing genome assemblies. In the human and mouse genomes, this was achieved by targeting large-insert clones using costly and laborious capillary-based sequencing approaches. Sanger shotgun sequencing of clone inserts, however, has now been largely abandoned, leaving most of these regions unresolved in newer genome assemblies generated primarily by next-generation sequencing hybrid approaches. Here we show that it is possible to resolve regions that are complex in a genome-wide context but simple in isolation for a fraction of the time and cost of…

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October 1, 2013

In transition: primate genomics at a time of rapid change.

The field of nonhuman primate genomics is undergoing rapid change and making impressive progress. Exploiting new technologies for DNA sequencing, researchers have generated new whole-genome sequence assemblies for multiple primate species over the past 6 years. In addition, investigations of within-species genetic variation, gene expression and RNA sequences, conservation of non-protein-coding regions of the genome, and other aspects of comparative genomics are moving at an accelerating speed. This progress is opening a wide array of new research opportunities in the analysis of comparative primate genome content and evolution. It also creates new possibilities for the use of nonhuman primates as…

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September 1, 2013

Genomic Architecture of the KIR and MHC-B and -C Regions in Orangutan

PacBio 2013 User Group Meeting Presentation Slides: Lisbeth Guethlein from Stanford University School of Medicine looked at highly repetitive and variable immune regions of the orangutan genome. Guethlein reported that “PacBio managed to accomplish in a week what I have been working on for a couple years” (with Sanger sequencing), and the results were concordant. “Long story short, I was a happy customer.”

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July 1, 2013

Evolution and diversity of copy number variation in the great ape lineage.

Copy number variation (CNV) contributes to disease and has restructured the genomes of great apes. The diversity and rate of this process, however, have not been extensively explored among great ape lineages. We analyzed 97 deeply sequenced great ape and human genomes and estimate 16% (469 Mb) of the hominid genome has been affected by recent CNV. We identify a comprehensive set of fixed gene deletions (n = 340) and duplications (n = 405) as well as >13.5 Mb of sequence that has been specifically lost on the human lineage. We compared the diversity and rates of copy number and…

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