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April 1, 2019

Uncovering Missing Heritability in Rare Diseases.

The problem of 'missing heritability' affects both common and rare diseases hindering: discovery, diagnosis, and patient care. The 'missing heritability' concept has been mainly associated with common and complex diseases where promising modern technological advances, like genome-wide association studies (GWAS), were unable to uncover the complete genetic mechanism of the disease/trait. Although rare diseases (RDs) have low prevalence individually, collectively they are common. Furthermore, multi-level genetic and phenotypic complexity when combined with the individual rarity of these conditions poses an important challenge in the quest to identify causative genetic changes in RD patients. In recent years, high throughput sequencing has…

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March 1, 2019

A critical comparison of technologies for a plant genome sequencing project.

A high-quality genome sequence of any model organism is an essential starting point for genetic and other studies. Older clone-based methods are slow and expensive, whereas faster, cheaper short-read-only assemblies can be incomplete and highly fragmented, which minimizes their usefulness. The last few years have seen the introduction of many new technologies for genome assembly. These new technologies and associated new algorithms are typically benchmarked on microbial genomes or, if they scale appropriately, on larger (e.g., human) genomes. However, plant genomes can be much more repetitive and larger than the human genome, and plant biochemistry often makes obtaining high-quality DNA…

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September 1, 2018

The third revolution in sequencing technology.

Forty years ago the advent of Sanger sequencing was revolutionary as it allowed complete genome sequences to be deciphered for the first time. A second revolution came when next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies appeared, which made genome sequencing much cheaper and faster. However, NGS methods have several drawbacks and pitfalls, most notably their short reads. Recently, third-generation/long-read methods appeared, which can produce genome assemblies of unprecedented quality. Moreover, these technologies can directly detect epigenetic modifications on native DNA and allow whole-transcript sequencing without the need for assembly. This marks the third revolution in sequencing technology. Here we review and compare the…

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August 1, 2018

Recent advances on detection and characterization of fruit tree viruses using high-throughput sequencing technologies.

Perennial crops, such as fruit trees, are infected by many viruses, which are transmitted through vegetative propagation and grafting of infected plant material. Some of these pathogens cause severe crop losses and often reduce the productive life of the orchards. Detection and characterization of these agents in fruit trees is challenging, however, during the last years, the wide application of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies has significantly facilitated this task. In this review, we present recent advances in the discovery, detection, and characterization of fruit tree viruses and virus-like agents accomplished by HTS approaches. A high number of new viruses have…

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January 1, 2018

Advances in Sequencing and Resequencing in Crop Plants.

DNA sequencing technologies have changed the face of biological research over the last 20 years. From reference genomes to population level resequencing studies, these technologies have made significant contributions to our understanding of plant biology and evolution. As the technologies have increased in power, the breadth and complexity of the questions that can be asked has increased. Along with this, the challenges of managing unprecedented quantities of sequence data are mounting. This chapter describes a few aspects of the journey so far and looks forward to what may lie ahead.

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December 18, 2017

Survey on the use of whole-genome sequencing for infectious diseases surveillance: Rapid expansion of European national capacities, 2015-2016.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has become an essential tool for public health surveillance and molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance. It provides precise geographical delineation of spread and enables incidence monitoring of pathogens at genotype level. Coupled with epidemiological and environmental investigations, it delivers ultimate resolution for tracing sources of epidemic infections. To ascertain the level of implementation of WGS-based typing for national public health surveillance and investigation of prioritized diseases in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA), two surveys were conducted in 2015 and 2016. The surveys were designed to determine the national public health reference…

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October 16, 2017

Molecular approaches for high throughput detection and quantification of genetically modified crops: A review.

As long as the genetically modified crops are gaining attention globally, their proper approval and commercialization need accurate and reliable diagnostic methods for the transgenic content. These diagnostic techniques are mainly divided into two major groups, i.e., identification of transgenic (1) DNA and (2) proteins from GMOs and their products. Conventional methods such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were routinely employed for DNA and protein based quantification respectively. Although, these Techniques (PCR and ELISA) are considered as significantly convenient and productive, but there is need for more advance technologies that allow for high throughput detection…

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July 12, 2017

Scaffolding of long read assemblies using long range contact information.

Long read technologies have revolutionized de novo genome assembly by generating contigs orders of magnitude longer than that of short read assemblies. Although assembly contiguity has increased, it usually does not reconstruct a full chromosome or an arm of the chromosome, resulting in an unfinished chromosome level assembly. To increase the contiguity of the assembly to the chromosome level, different strategies are used which exploit long range contact information between chromosomes in the genome.We develop a scalable and computationally efficient scaffolding method that can boost the assembly contiguity to a large extent using genome-wide chromatin interaction data such as Hi-C.we…

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May 1, 2017

New advances in sequence assembly

Extract It may be hard to believe, but the idea of sequence assembly is around 40 years old. Consider this pair of quotes from Rodger Staden (Staden 1979): “With modern fast sequencing techniques and suitable computer programs it is now possible to sequence whole genomes without the need of restriction maps.” “If the 5' end of the sequence from one gel reading is the same as the 3' end of the sequence from another the data is said to overlap. If the overlap is of sufficient length to distinguish it from being a repeat in the sequence the two sequences…

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January 1, 2017

The state of whole-genome sequencing

Over the last decade, a technological paradigm shift has slashed the cost of DNA sequencing by over five orders of magnitude. Today, the cost of sequencing a human genome is a few thousand dollars, and it continues to fall. Here, we review the most cost-effective platforms for whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as well as emerging technologies that may displace or complement these. We also discuss the practical challenges of generating and analyzing WGS data, and how WGS has unlocked new strategies for discovering genes and variants underlying both rare and common human diseases.

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November 2, 2016

Breaking Lander-Waterman’s coverage bound.

Lander-Waterman's coverage bound establishes the total number of reads required to cover the whole genome of size G bases. In fact, their bound is a direct consequence of the well-known solution to the coupon collector's problem which proves that for such genome, the total number of bases to be sequenced should be O(G ln G). Although the result leads to a tight bound, it is based on a tacit assumption that the set of reads are first collected through a sequencing process and then are processed through a computation process, i.e., there are two different machines: one for sequencing and…

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October 18, 2016

Deep sequencing of 10,000 human genomes.

We report on the sequencing of 10,545 human genomes at 30×-40× coverage with an emphasis on quality metrics and novel variant and sequence discovery. We find that 84% of an individual human genome can be sequenced confidently. This high-confidence region includes 91.5% of exon sequence and 95.2% of known pathogenic variant positions. We present the distribution of over 150 million single-nucleotide variants in the coding and noncoding genome. Each newly sequenced genome contributes an average of 8,579 novel variants. In addition, each genome carries on average 0.7 Mb of sequence that is not found in the main build of the…

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August 26, 2016

Probabilistic viral quasispecies assembly

Viruses are pathogens that cause infectious diseases. The swarm of virions is subject to the host's immune pressure and possibly antiviral therapy. It may escape this selective pressure and gain selective advantage by acquiring one or more of the genomic alterations: single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), loss or gain of one or more amino acids, large deletions, for example, due to alternative splicing, or recombination of different strains. Genotypic antiretroviral drug resistance testing is performed via sequencing. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies revolutionized assessing viral genetic diversity experimentally. In viral quasispecies analysis, there are two main goals: the identification of low-frequency variants and…

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August 1, 2016

A comparison of tools for the simulation of genomic next-generation sequencing data.

Computer simulation of genomic data has become increasingly popular for assessing and validating biological models or for gaining an understanding of specific data sets. Several computational tools for the simulation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data have been developed in recent years, which could be used to compare existing and new NGS analytical pipelines. Here we review 23 of these tools, highlighting their distinct functionality, requirements and potential applications. We also provide a decision tree for the informed selection of an appropriate NGS simulation tool for the specific question at hand.

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June 16, 2016

The report of my death was an exaggeration: A review for researchers using microsatellites in the 21st century.

Microsatellites, or simple sequence repeats (SSRs), have long played a major role in genetic studies due to their typically high polymorphism. They have diverse applications, including genome mapping, forensics, ascertaining parentage, population and conservation genetics, identification of the parentage of polyploids, and phylogeography. We compare SSRs and newer methods, such as genotyping by sequencing (GBS) and restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq), and offer recommendations for researchers considering which genetic markers to use. We also review the variety of techniques currently used for identifying microsatellite loci and developing primers, with a particular focus on those that make use of next-generation…

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