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March 1, 2018

Conventional and single-molecule targeted sequencing method for specific variant detection in IKBKG while bypassing the IKBKGP1 pseudogene.

In addition to Sanger sequencing, next-generation sequencing of gene panels and exomes has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in many laboratories. However, these captures can miss regions, have poor efficiency, or capture pseudogenes, which hamper proper diagnoses. One such example is the primary immunodeficiency-associated gene IKBKG. Its pseudogene IKBKGP1 makes traditional capture methods aspecific. We therefore developed a long-range PCR method to efficiently target IKBKG, as well as two associated genes (IRAK4 and MYD88), while bypassing the IKBKGP1 pseudogene. Sequencing accuracy was evaluated using both conventional short-read technology and a newer long-read, single-molecule sequencer. Different mapping and variant calling…

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February 1, 2018

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio's single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT…

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December 1, 2017

The Aegilops tauschii genome reveals multiple impacts of transposons.

Wheat is an important global crop with an extremely large and complex genome that contains more transposable elements (TEs) than any other known crop species. Here, we generated a chromosome-scale, high-quality reference genome of Aegilops tauschii, the donor of the wheat D genome, in which 92.5% sequences have been anchored to chromosomes. Using this assembly, we accurately characterized genic loci, gene expression, pseudogenes, methylation, recombination ratios, microRNAs and especially TEs on chromosomes. In addition to the discovery of a wave of very recent gene duplications, we detected that TEs occurred in about half of the genes, and found that such…

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October 15, 2017

Copy number variation probes inform diverse applications

A major contributor to inter-individual genomic variability is copy number variation (CNV). CNVs change the diploid status of the DNA, involve one or multiple genes, and may disrupt coding regions, affect regulatory elements, or change gene dosage. While some of these changes may have no phenotypic consequences, others underlie disease, explain evolutionary processes, or impact the response to medication.

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July 20, 2017

Long-read sequencing offers path to more accurate drug metabolism profiles

In the complex drug discovery process, one of the looming questions for any new compound is how it will be metabolised in a human bodyWhi|e there are several methods for evaluating this, one of the most common involves CYP2D6,the enzyme encoded by the cytochrome P450—2D6 gene.This enzyme is involved in metabolising a quarter of all commonly used medications, making it an important target for ADME and pharmacogenomics studies. It is known to activate some drugs and to play a role in the deactivation or excretion of others.

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July 1, 2017

Detecting PKD1 variants in polycystic kidney disease patients by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

A genetic diagnosis of autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is challenging due to allelic heterogeneity, high GC content, and homology of the PKD1 gene with six pseudogenes. Short-read next-generation sequencing approaches, such as whole-genome sequencing and whole-exome sequencing, often fail at reliably characterizing complex regions such as PKD1. However, long-read single-molecule sequencing has been shown to be an alternative strategy that could overcome PKD1 complexities and discriminate between homologous regions of PKD1 and its pseudogenes. In this study, we present the increased power of resolution for complex regions using long-read sequencing to characterize a cohort of 19 patients with ADPKD.…

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June 22, 2017

Case Study: SMRT sequencing brings clarity to HIV vaccine and transplant research at the Wisconsin national primate research center

The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center (WNPRC) is a leading Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) typing lab that focuses on monkeys. While many scientists are familiar with the importance of characterizing the histocompatibility region of the human genome for applications like disease research or tissue typing before organ transplantation, fewer are aware of the need to accurately type this region in non-human primates. At the primate research lab, part of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, scientists are analyzing immune regions to help test potential HIV vaccines and AIDS therapies. Their work is essential for understanding the effects of treatment ahead of…

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June 17, 2017

An improved Plasmodium cynomolgi genome assembly reveals an unexpected methyltransferase gene expansion.

Plasmodium cynomolgi, a non-human primate malaria parasite species, has been an important model parasite since its discovery in 1907. Similarities in the biology of P. cynomolgi to the closely related, but less tractable, human malaria parasite P. vivax make it the model parasite of choice for liver biology and vaccine studies pertinent to P. vivax malaria. Molecular and genome-scale studies of P. cynomolgi have relied on the current reference genome sequence, which remains highly fragmented with 1,649 unassigned scaffolds and little representation of the subtelomeres.  Methods: Using long-read sequence data (Pacific Biosciences SMRT technology), we assembled and annotated a new…

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June 1, 2017

Complete genome sequence of a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus hypervirulent strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia.

USA300 is a predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain causing significant morbidity and mortality. We present here the full annotated genome of a USA300 hypervirulent clinical strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia, to gain a better understanding of USA300 hypervirulence. Copyright © 2017 McClure and Zhang.

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May 4, 2017

Sequencing the CYP2D6 gene: from variant allele discovery to clinical pharmacogenetic testing.

CYP2D6 is one of the most studied enzymes in the field of pharmacogenetics. The CYP2D6 gene is highly polymorphic with over 100 catalogued star (*) alleles, and clinical CYP2D6 testing is increasingly accessible and supported by practice guidelines. However, the degree of variation at the CYP2D6 locus and homology with its pseudogenes make interrogating CYP2D6 by short-read sequencing challenging. Moreover, accurate prediction of CYP2D6 metabolizer status necessitates analysis of duplicated alleles when an increased copy number is detected. These challenges have recently been overcome by long-read CYP2D6 sequencing; however, such platforms are not widely available. This review highlights the genomic…

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March 13, 2017

CRISPR/Cas9-generated p47(phox)-deficient cell line for Chronic Granulomatous Disease gene therapy vector development.

Development of gene therapy vectors requires cellular models reflecting the genetic background of a disease thus allowing for robust preclinical vector testing. For human p47(phox)-deficient chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) vector testing we generated a cellular model using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 to introduce a GT-dinucleotide deletion (?GT) mutation in p47(phox) encoding NCF1 gene in the human acute myeloid leukemia PLB-985 cell line. CGD is a group of hereditary immunodeficiencies characterized by impaired respiratory burst activity in phagocytes due to a defective phagocytic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase. In Western countries autosomal-recessive p47(phox)-subunit deficiency represents the second…

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August 16, 2016

Towards precision medicine.

There is great potential for genome sequencing to enhance patient care through improved diagnostic sensitivity and more precise therapeutic targeting. To maximize this potential, genomics strategies that have been developed for genetic discovery - including DNA-sequencing technologies and analysis algorithms - need to be adapted to fit clinical needs. This will require the optimization of alignment algorithms, attention to quality-coverage metrics, tailored solutions for paralogous or low-complexity areas of the genome, and the adoption of consensus standards for variant calling and interpretation. Global sharing of this more accurate genotypic and phenotypic data will accelerate the determination of causality for novel…

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August 12, 2016

Winding paths to simplicity: genome evolution in facultative insect symbionts.

Symbiosis between organisms is an important driving force in evolution. Among the diverse relationships described, extensive progress has been made in insect-bacteria symbiosis, which improved our understanding of the genome evolution in host-associated bacteria. Particularly, investigations on several obligate mutualists have pushed the limits of what we know about the minimal genomes for sustaining cellular life. To bridge the gap between those obligate symbionts with extremely reduced genomes and their non-host-restricted ancestors, this review focuses on the recent progress in genome characterization of facultative insect symbionts. Notable cases representing various types and stages of host associations, including those from multiple…

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March 18, 2016

Horizontal gene acquisitions, mobile element proliferation, and genome decay in the host-restricted plant pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila.

Modern industrial agriculture depends on high-density cultivation of genetically similar crop plants, creating favorable conditions for the emergence of novel pathogens with increased fitness in managed compared with ecologically intact settings. Here, we present the genome sequence of six strains of the cucurbit bacterial wilt pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila (Enterobacteriaceae) isolated from infected squash plants in New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Michigan. These genomes exhibit a high proportion of recent horizontal gene acquisitions, invasion and remarkable amplification of mobile genetic elements, and pseudogenization of approximately 20% of the coding sequences. These genome attributes indicate that E. tracheiphila recently emerged as a…

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March 1, 2016

Emergence of host-adapted Salmonella Enteritidis through rapid evolution in an immunocompromised host.

Host adaptation is a key factor contributing to the emergence of new bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens. Many pathogens are considered promiscuous because they cause disease across a range of host species, while others are host-adapted, infecting particular hosts(1). Host adaptation can potentially progress to host restriction where the pathogen is strictly limited to a single host species and is frequently associated with more severe symptoms. Host-adapted and host-restricted bacterial clades evolve from within a broader host-promiscuous species and sometimes target different niches within their specialist hosts, such as adapting from a mucosal to a systemic lifestyle. Genome degradation, marked…

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