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May 3, 2016

Single-cell (meta-)genomics of a dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii reveals genomic plasticity.

The genus Thiomargarita includes the world's largest bacteria. But as uncultured organisms, their physiology, metabolism, and basis for their gigantism are not well understood. Thus, a genomics approach, applied to a single Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii cell was employed to explore the genetic potential of one of these enigmatic giant bacteria. The Thiomargarita cell was obtained from an assemblage of budding Ca. T. nelsonii attached to a provannid gastropod shell from Hydrate Ridge, a methane seep offshore of Oregon, USA. Here we present a manually curated genome of Bud S10 resulting from a hybrid assembly of long Pacific Biosciences and short…

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April 1, 2016

Haemonchus contortus: genome structure, organization and comparative genomics

One of the first genome sequencing projects for a parasitic nematode was that for Haemonchus contortus. The open access data from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute provided a valuable early resource for the research community, particularly for the identification of specific genes and genetic markers. Later, a second sequencing project was initiated by the University of Melbourne, and the two draft genome sequences for H. contortus were published back-to-back in 2013. There is a pressing need for long-range genomic information for genetic mapping, population genetics and functional genomic studies, so we are continuing to improve the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute assembly…

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March 23, 2016

BAC-pool sequencing and assembly of 19 Mb of the complex sugarcane genome.

Sequencing plant genomes are often challenging because of their complex architecture and high content of repetitive sequences. Sugarcane has one of the most complex genomes. It is highly polyploid, preserves intact homeologous chromosomes from its parental species and contains >55% repetitive sequences. Although bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries have emerged as an alternative for accessing the sugarcane genome, sequencing individual clones is laborious and expensive. Here, we present a strategy for sequencing and assembly reads produced from the DNA of pooled BAC clones. A set of 178 BAC clones, randomly sampled from the SP80-3280 sugarcane BAC library, was pooled and…

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March 15, 2016

Insights into adaptations to a near-obligate nematode endoparasitic lifestyle from the finished genome of Drechmeria coniospora.

Nematophagous fungi employ three distinct predatory strategies: nematode trapping, parasitism of females and eggs, and endoparasitism. While endoparasites play key roles in controlling nematode populations in nature, their application for integrated pest management is hindered by the limited understanding of their biology. We present a comparative analysis of a high quality finished genome assembly of Drechmeria coniospora, a model endoparasitic nematophagous fungus, integrated with a transcriptomic study. Adaptation of D. coniospora to its almost completely obligate endoparasitic lifestyle led to the simplification of many orthologous gene families involved in the saprophytic trophic mode, while maintaining orthologs of most known fungal…

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March 1, 2016

Major improvements to the Heliconius melpomene genome assembly used to confirm 10 chromosome fusion events in 6 million years of butterfly evolution.

The Heliconius butterflies are a widely studied adaptive radiation of 46 species spread across Central and South America, several of which are known to hybridize in the wild. Here, we present a substantially improved assembly of the Heliconius melpomene genome, developed using novel methods that should be applicable to improving other genome assemblies produced using short read sequencing. First, we whole-genome-sequenced a pedigree to produce a linkage map incorporating 99% of the genome. Second, we incorporated haplotype scaffolds extensively to produce a more complete haploid version of the draft genome. Third, we incorporated ~20x coverage of Pacific Biosciences sequencing, and…

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February 17, 2016

Coevolution between Nuclear-encoded DNA replication, recombination, and repair genes and plastid genome complexity.

Disruption of DNA replication, recombination, and repair (DNA-RRR) systems has been hypothesized to cause highly elevated nucleotide substitution rates and genome rearrangements in the plastids of angiosperms, but this theory remains untested. To investigate nuclear-plastid genome (plastome) coevolution in Geraniaceae, four different measures of plastome complexity (rearrangements, repeats, nucleotide insertions/deletions, and substitution rates) were evaluated along with substitution rates of 12 nuclear-encoded, plastid-targeted DNA-RRR genes from 27 Geraniales species. Significant correlations were detected for nonsynonymous (dN) but not synonymous (dS) substitution rates for three DNA-RRR genes (uvrB/C, why1, and gyrA) supporting a role for these genes in accelerated plastid genome…

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February 1, 2016

Streptomyces thermoautotrophicus does not fix nitrogen.

Streptomyces thermoautotrophicus UBT1 has been described as a moderately thermophilic chemolithoautotroph with a novel nitrogenase enzyme that is oxygen-insensitive. We have cultured the UBT1 strain, and have isolated two new strains (H1 and P1-2) of very similar phenotypic and genetic characters. These strains show minimal growth on ammonium-free media, and fail to incorporate isotopically labeled N2 gas into biomass in multiple independent assays. The sdn genes previously published as the putative nitrogenase of S. thermoautotrophicus have little similarity to anything found in draft genome sequences, published here, for strains H1 and UBT1, but share >99% nucleotide identity with genes from…

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January 11, 2016

Progress Toward a Low Budget Reference Grade Genome Assembly

Reference quality de novo genome assemblies were once solely the domain of large, well-funded genome projects. While next-generation short read technology removed some of the cost barriers, accurate chromosome-scale assembly remains a real challenge. Here we present efforts to de novo assemble the goat (Capra hircus) genome. Through the combination of single-molecule technologies from Pacific Biosciences (sequencing) and BioNano Genomics (optical mapping) coupled with high-throughput chromosome conformation capture sequencing (Hi-C), an inbred San Clemente goat genome has been sequenced and assembled to a high degree of completeness at a relatively modest cost. Starting with 38 million PacBio reads, we integrated…

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January 10, 2016

Cogent: Reconstructing the coding genome from full-length transcriptome sequences

For highly complex and large genomes, a well-annotated genome may be computationally challenging and costly, yet the study of alternative splicing events and gene annotations usually rely on the existence of a genome. Long-read sequencing technology provides new opportunities to sequence full-length cDNAs, avoiding computational challenges that short read transcript assembly brings. The use of single molecule, real-time sequencing from Pacific Biosciences to sequence transcriptomes (the Iso-SeqTM method), which produces de novo, high-quality, full-length transcripts, has revealed an astonishing amount of alternative splicing in eukaryotic species. With the Iso-Seq method, it is now possible to reconstruct the transcribed regions of…

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December 29, 2015

Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the transfer of genes between species, has been recognized recently as more pervasive than previously suspected. Here, we report evidence for an unprecedented degree of HGT into an animal genome, based on a draft genome of a tardigrade, Hypsibius dujardini. Tardigrades are microscopic eight-legged animals that are famous for their ability to survive extreme conditions. Genome sequencing, direct confirmation of physical linkage, and phylogenetic analysis revealed that a large fraction of the H. dujardini genome is derived from diverse bacteria as well as plants, fungi, and Archaea. We estimate that approximately one-sixth of tardigrade genes…

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December 28, 2015

The genome and methylome of a beetle with complex social behavior, Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae).

Testing for conserved and novel mechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution requires a diversity of genomes available for comparison spanning multiple independent lineages. For example, complex social behavior in insects has been investigated primarily with eusocial lineages, nearly all of which are Hymenoptera. If conserved genomic influences on sociality do exist, we need data from a wider range of taxa that also vary in their levels of sociality. Here, we present the assembled and annotated genome of the subsocial beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, a species long used to investigate evolutionary questions of complex social behavior. We used this genome to address two questions.…

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September 26, 2015

Complete genome sequence of Streptomyces ambofaciens ATCC 23877, the spiramycin producer.

Streptomyces ambofaciens ATCC23877 is a soil bacterium industrially exploited for the production of the macrolide spiramycin which is used in human medicine as an antibacterial and anti-toxoplasmosis chemical. Its genome consists of a 8.3Mbp linear chromosome and a 89kb circular plasmid. The complete genome sequence reported here will enable us to investigate Streptomyces genome evolution and to discover new secondary metabolites with potential applications notably in human medicine. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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September 24, 2015

Case Study: Assembling high-quality human genomes – Beyond the ‘$1,000 genome’

Scientists from WashU, Macrogen, and Mount Sinai are using long-read sequencing with single-molecule, next-generation genome mapping to create gold-quality de novo assemblies of human genomes. Unbiased de novo assembled genomes also highlight the substantial amount of structural variation unique to individuals and populations, which cannot be accessed by short-read technologies that use a reference-based re-sequencing approach.

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August 1, 2015

Genome expansion via lineage splitting and genome reduction in the cicada endosymbiont Hodgkinia.

Comparative genomics from mitochondria, plastids, and mutualistic endosymbiotic bacteria has shown that the stable establishment of a bacterium in a host cell results in genome reduction. Although many highly reduced genomes from endosymbiotic bacteria are stable in gene content and genome structure, organelle genomes are sometimes characterized by dramatic structural diversity. Previous results from Candidatus Hodgkinia cicadicola, an endosymbiont of cicadas, revealed that some lineages of this bacterium had split into two new cytologically distinct yet genetically interdependent species. It was hypothesized that the long life cycle of cicadas in part enabled this unusual lineage-splitting event. Here we test this…

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August 1, 2015

Acetylcholinesterase 1 in populations of organophosphate-resistant North American strains of the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae).

Rhipicephalus microplus, the cattle fever tick, is a global economic problem to the cattle industry due to direct infestation of cattle and pathogens transmitted during feeding. Cattle fever tick outbreaks continue to occur along the Mexico-US border even though the tick has been eradicated from the USA. The organophosphate (OP) coumaphos targets acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and is the approved acaricide for eradicating cattle fever tick outbreaks. There is evidence for coumaphos resistance developing in cattle ticks in Mexico, and OP-resistant R. microplus ticks were discovered in outbreak populations of Texas in 2005. The molecular basis of coumaphos resistance is not known,…

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