June 1, 2021  |  

High-quality, highly contiguous re-assembly of the pig genome

Many applications of high throughput sequencing rely on the availability of an accurate reference genome. Errors in the reference genome assembly increase the number of false-positives in downstream analyses. Recently, we have shown that over 33% of the current pig reference genome, Sscrofa10.2, is either misassembled or otherwise unreliable for genomic analyses. Additionally, ~10% of the bases in the assembly are Ns in gaps of an arbitrary size. Thousands of highly fragmented contigs remain unplaced and many genes are known to be missing from the assembly. Here we present a new assembly of the pig genome, Sscrofa11, assembled using 65X PacBio sequencing from T.J. Tabasco, the same Duroc sow used in the assembly of Sscrofa10.2. The PacBio reads were assembled using the Falcon assembly pipeline resulting in 3,206 contigs with an initial contig N50 of 14.5Mb. We used Sscrofa10.2 as a template to scaffold the PacBio contigs, under the assumption that its gross structure is correct, and used PBJelly to fill gaps. Additional gaps were filled using large, sequenced BACs from the original assembly. Following gap filling, the assembly has substantially improved contiguity and contains more sequence than the Sscrofa10.2 assembly. Arrow and Pilon were used to polish the assembly. The contig N50 is now 58.5Mb with 103 gaps remaining. By comparing regions of the two assemblies we show that regions with structural abnormalities we identified in Sscrofa10.2 are resolved in the new PacBio assembly.


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.


September 22, 2019  |  

Normalized long read RNA sequencing in chicken reveals transcriptome complexity similar to human.

Despite the significance of chicken as a model organism, our understanding of the chicken transcriptome is limited compared to human. This issue is common to all non-human vertebrate annotations due to the difficulty in transcript identification from short read RNAseq data. While previous studies have used single molecule long read sequencing for transcript discovery, they did not perform RNA normalization and 5′-cap selection which may have resulted in lower transcriptome coverage and truncated transcript sequences.We sequenced normalised chicken brain and embryo RNA libraries with Pacific Bioscience Iso-Seq. 5′ cap selection was performed on the embryo library to provide methodological comparison. From these Iso-Seq sequencing projects, we have identified 60 k transcripts and 29 k genes within the chicken transcriptome. Of these, more than 20 k are novel lncRNA transcripts with ~3 k classified as sense exonic overlapping lncRNA, which is a class that is underrepresented in many vertebrate annotations. The relative proportion of alternative transcription events revealed striking similarities between the chicken and human transcriptomes while also providing explanations for previously observed genomic differences.Our results indicate that the chicken transcriptome is similar in complexity compared to human, and provide insights into other vertebrate biology. Our methodology demonstrates the potential of Iso-Seq sequencing to rapidly expand our knowledge of transcriptomics.


September 22, 2019  |  

Combination of novel and public RNA-seq datasets to generate an mRNA expression atlas for the domestic chicken.

The domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) is widely used as a model in developmental biology and is also an important livestock species. We describe a novel approach to data integration to generate an mRNA expression atlas for the chicken spanning major tissue types and developmental stages, using a diverse range of publicly-archived RNA-seq datasets and new data derived from immune cells and tissues.Randomly down-sampling RNA-seq datasets to a common depth and quantifying expression against a reference transcriptome using the mRNA quantitation tool Kallisto ensured that disparate datasets explored comparable transcriptomic space. The network analysis tool Graphia was used to extract clusters of co-expressed genes from the resulting expression atlas, many of which were tissue or cell-type restricted, contained transcription factors that have previously been implicated in their regulation, or were otherwise associated with biological processes, such as the cell cycle. The atlas provides a resource for the functional annotation of genes that currently have only a locus ID. We cross-referenced the RNA-seq atlas to a publicly available embryonic Cap Analysis of Gene Expression (CAGE) dataset to infer the developmental time course of organ systems, and to identify a signature of the expansion of tissue macrophage populations during development.Expression profiles obtained from public RNA-seq datasets – despite being generated by different laboratories using different methodologies – can be made comparable to each other. This meta-analytic approach to RNA-seq can be extended with new datasets from novel tissues, and is applicable to any species.


July 7, 2019  |  

Convergence of plasmid architectures drives emergence of multi-drug resistance in a clonally diverse Escherichia coli population from a veterinary clinical care setting.

The purpose of this study was to determine the plasmid architecture and context of resistance genes in multi-drug resistant (MDR) Escherichia coli strains isolated from urinary tract infections in dogs. Illumina and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing were applied to assemble the complete genomes of E. coli strains associated with clinical urinary tract infections, which were either phenotypically MDR or drug susceptible. This revealed that multiple distinct families of plasmids were associated with building an MDR phenotype. Plasmid-mediated AmpC (CMY-2) beta-lactamase resistance was associated with a clonal group of IncI1 plasmids that has remained stable in isolates collected up to a decade apart. Other plasmids, in particular those with an IncF replicon type, contained other resistance gene markers, so that the emergence of these MDR strains was driven by the accumulation of multiple plasmids, up to 5 replicons in specific cases. This study indicates that vulnerable patients, often with complex clinical histories provide a setting leading to the emergence of MDR E. coli strains in clonally distinct commensal backgrounds. While it is known that horizontally-transferred resistance supplements uropathogenic strains of E. coli such as ST131, our study demonstrates that the selection of an MDR phenotype in commensal E. coli strains can result in opportunistic infections in vulnerable patient populations. These strains provide a reservoir for the onward transfer of resistance alleles into more typically pathogenic strains and provide opportunities for the coalition of resistance and virulence determinants on plasmids as evidenced by the IncF replicons characterised in this study. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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