July 7, 2019  |  

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 sequencing (NGS). Additionally, we review software for microsatellite development and report on an experiment to assess the utility of currently available software for SSR development. Finally, we discuss the future of microsatellites and make recommendations for researchers preparing to use microsatellites. We argue that microsatellites still have an important place in the genomic age as they remain effective and cost-efficient markers.

July 7, 2019  |  

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 one for processing. In this paper, we present a significant improvement compared to Lander-Waterman’s result and prove that by combining the sequencing and computing processes, one can re-sequence the whole genome with as low as O(G) sequenced bases in total. Our approach also dramatically reduces the required computational power for the combined process. Simulation results are performed on real genomes with different sequencing error rates. The results support our theory predicting the log G improvement on coverage bound and corresponding reduction in the total number of bases required to be sequenced.

July 7, 2019  |  

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 haplotype assembly on a whole-genome scale. PacBio performs single-molecule sequencing. This chapter elaborates human haplotyping and its relationship to probabilistic viral haplotype reconstruction methods. Viral quasispecies assembly has the potential to replace the current de facto diversity estimation by SNV calling. With advances in library preparation, increasing sensitivity of sequencing platforms, and more sophisticated models, it might be possible to detect all or most viral strains in a single individual.

July 7, 2019  |  

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 hg38 reference genome. The density of this catalog of variation allowed us to construct high-resolution profiles that define genomic sites that are highly intolerant of genetic variation. These results indicate that the data generated by deep genome sequencing is of the quality necessary for clinical use.

July 7, 2019  |  

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 been described in the last 5 years, some of them exhibiting novel genomic features that have led to the proposal of the creation of new genera, and the revision of the current virus taxonomy status. Interestingly, several of the newly identified viruses belong to virus genera previously unknown to infect fruit tree species (e.g., Fabavirus, Luteovirus) a fact that challenges our perspective of plant viruses in general. Finally, applied methodologies, including the use of different molecules as templates, as well as advantages and disadvantages and future directions of HTS in fruit tree virology are discussed.

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