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December 1, 2018

Long-read sequence and assembly of segmental duplications.

We have developed a computational method based on polyploid phasing of long sequence reads to resolve collapsed regions of segmental duplications within genome assemblies. Segmental Duplication Assembler (SDA; https://github.com/mvollger/SDA ) constructs graphs in which paralogous sequence variants define the nodes and long-read sequences provide attraction and repulsion edges, enabling the partition and assembly of long reads corresponding to distinct paralogs. We apply it to single-molecule, real-time sequence data from three human genomes and recover 33-79 megabase pairs (Mb) of duplications in which approximately half of the loci are diverged (99.9%) and that the diverged sequence corresponds to copy-number-variable paralogs that…

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August 29, 2017

Gapless genome assembly of Colletotrichum higginsianum reveals chromosome structure and association of transposable elements with secondary metabolite gene clusters.

The ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum higginsianum causes anthracnose disease of brassica crops and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Previous versions of the genome sequence were highly fragmented, causing errors in the prediction of protein-coding genes and preventing the analysis of repetitive sequences and genome architecture. Here, we re-sequenced the genome using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology and, in combination with optical map data, this provided a gapless assembly of all twelve chromosomes except for the ribosomal DNA repeat cluster on chromosome 7. The more accurate gene annotation made possible by this new assembly revealed a large repertoire of secondary metabolism (SM)…

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April 12, 2017

Resolving multicopy duplications de novo using polyploid phasing

While the rise of single-molecule sequencing systems has enabled an unprecedented rise in the ability to assemble complex regions of the genome, long segmental duplications in the genome still remain a challenging frontier in assembly. Segmental duplications are at the same time both gene rich and prone to large structural rearrangements, making the resolution of their sequences important in medical and evolutionary studies. Duplicated sequences that are collapsed in mammalian de novo assemblies are rarely identical; after a sequence is duplicated, it begins to acquire paralog-specific variants. In this paper, we study the problem of resolving the variations in multicopy,…

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February 17, 2017

The evolution and population diversity of human-specific segmental duplications

Segmental duplications contribute to human evolution, adaptation and genomic instability but are often poorly characterized. We investigate the evolution, genetic variation and coding potential of human-specific segmental duplications (HSDs). We identify 218 HSDs based on analysis of 322 deeply sequenced archaic and contemporary hominid genomes. We sequence 550 human and nonhuman primate genomic clones to reconstruct the evolution of the largest, most complex regions with protein-coding potential (N?=?80 genes from 33 gene families). We show that HSDs are non-randomly organized, associate preferentially with ancestral ape duplications termed ‘core duplicons’ and evolved primarily in an interspersed inverted orientation. In addition to…

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November 9, 2016

Short tandem repeats, segmental duplications, gene deletion, and genomic instability in a rapidly diversified immune gene family.

Genomic regions with repetitive sequences are considered unstable and prone to swift DNA diversification processes. A highly diverse immune gene family of the sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), called Sp185/333, is composed of clustered genes with similar sequence as well as several types of repeats ranging in size from short tandem repeats (STRs) to large segmental duplications. This repetitive structure may have been the basis for the incorrect assembly of this gene family in the sea urchin genome sequence. Consequently, we have resolved the structure of the family and profiled the members by sequencing selected BAC clones using Illumina and PacBio…

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August 30, 2016

Extensive sequence divergence between the reference genomes of two elite indica rice varieties Zhenshan 97 and Minghui 63.

Asian cultivated rice consists of two subspecies: Oryza sativa subsp. indica and O. sativa subsp. japonica Despite the fact that indica rice accounts for over 70% of total rice production worldwide and is genetically much more diverse, a high-quality reference genome for indica rice has yet to be published. We conducted map-based sequencing of two indica rice lines, Zhenshan 97 (ZS97) and Minghui 63 (MH63), which represent the two major varietal groups of the indica subspecies and are the parents of an elite Chinese hybrid. The genome sequences were assembled into 237 (ZS97) and 181 (MH63) contigs, with an accuracy…

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August 3, 2016

Emergence of a Homo sapiens-specific gene family and chromosome 16p11.2 CNV susceptibility.

Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated…

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April 1, 2016

An incomplete understanding of human genetic variation.

Deciphering the genetic basis of human disease requires a comprehensive knowledge of genetic variants irrespective of their class or frequency. Although an impressive number of human genetic variants have been catalogued, a large fraction of the genetic difference that distinguishes two human genomes is still not understood at the base-pair level. This is because the emphasis has been on single-nucleotide variation as opposed to less tractable and more complex genetic variants, including indels and structural variants. The latter, we propose, will have a large impact on human phenotypes but require a more systematic assessment of genomes at deeper coverage and…

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March 23, 2016

High quality maize centromere 10 sequence reveals evidence of frequent recombination events.

The ancestral centromeres of maize contain long stretches of the tandemly arranged CentC repeat. The abundance of tandem DNA repeats and centromeric retrotransposons (CR) has presented a significant challenge to completely assembling centromeres using traditional sequencing methods. Here, we report a nearly complete assembly of the 1.85 Mb maize centromere 10 from inbred B73 using PacBio technology and BACs from the reference genome project. The error rates estimated from overlapping BAC sequences are 7 × 10(-6) and 5 × 10(-5) for mismatches and indels, respectively. The number of gaps in the region covered by the reassembly was reduced from 140…

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December 29, 2015

Bovine NK-lysin: Copy number variation and functional diversification.

NK-lysin is an antimicrobial peptide and effector protein in the host innate immune system. It is coded by a single gene in humans and most other mammalian species. In this study, we provide evidence for the existence of four NK-lysin genes in a repetitive region on cattle chromosome 11. The NK2A, NK2B, and NK2C genes are tandemly arrayed as three copies in ~30-35-kb segments, located 41.8 kb upstream of NK1. All four genes are functional, albeit with differential tissue expression. NK1, NK2A, and NK2B exhibited the highest expression in intestine Peyer's patch, whereas NK2C was expressed almost exclusively in lung.…

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March 19, 2015

PacBio-LITS: a large-insert targeted sequencing method for characterization of human disease-associated chromosomal structural variations.

Generation of long (>5 Kb) DNA sequencing reads provides an approach for interrogation of complex regions in the human genome. Currently, large-insert whole genome sequencing (WGS) technologies from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) enable analysis of chromosomal structural variations (SVs), but the cost to achieve the required sequence coverage across the entire human genome is high.We developed a method (termed PacBio-LITS) that combines oligonucleotide-based DNA target-capture enrichment technologies with PacBio large-insert library preparation to facilitate SV studies at specific chromosomal regions. PacBio-LITS provides deep sequence coverage at the specified sites at substantially reduced cost compared with PacBio WGS. The efficacy of PacBio-LITS…

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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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April 1, 2014

Dissecting a hidden gene duplication: the Arabidopsis thaliana SEC10 locus.

Repetitive sequences present a challenge for genome sequence assembly, and highly similar segmental duplications may disappear from assembled genome sequences. Having found a surprising lack of observable phenotypic deviations and non-Mendelian segregation in Arabidopsis thaliana mutants in SEC10, a gene encoding a core subunit of the exocyst tethering complex, we examined whether this could be explained by a hidden gene duplication. Re-sequencing and manual assembly of the Arabidopsis thaliana SEC10 (At5g12370) locus revealed that this locus, comprising a single gene in the reference genome assembly, indeed contains two paralogous genes in tandem, SEC10a and SEC10b, and that a sequence segment…

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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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January 1, 2014

Genome reference and sequence variation in the large repetitive central exon of human MUC5AC.

Despite modern sequencing efforts, the difficulty in assembly of highly repetitive sequences has prevented resolution of human genome gaps, including some in the coding regions of genes with important biological functions. One such gene, MUC5AC, encodes a large, secreted mucin, which is one of the two major secreted mucins in human airways. The MUC5AC region contains a gap in the human genome reference (hg19) across the large, highly repetitive, and complex central exon. This exon is predicted to contain imperfect tandem repeat sequences and multiple conserved cysteine-rich (CysD) domains. To resolve the MUC5AC genomic gap, we used high-fidelity long PCR…

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