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April 10, 2018

Genomic architecture of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) shows expansions of innate immune genes and short tandem repeats.

Increased availability of genome assemblies for non-model organisms has resulted in invaluable biological and genomic insight into numerous vertebrates, including teleosts. Sequencing of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) genome and the genomes of many of its relatives (Gadiformes) demonstrated a shared loss of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II genes 100 million years ago. An improved version of the Atlantic cod genome assembly shows an extreme density of tandem repeats compared to other vertebrate genome assemblies. Highly contiguous assemblies are therefore needed to further investigate the unusual immune system of the Gadiformes, and whether the high density of tandem repeats…

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January 10, 2018

Case Study: Pioneering a pan-genome reference collection

At DuPont Pioneer, DNA sequencing is paramount for R&D to reveal the genetic basis for traits of interest in commercial crops such as maize, soybean, sorghum, sunflower, alfalfa, canola, wheat, rice, and others. They cannot afford to wait the years it has historically taken for high-quality reference genomes to be produced. Nor can they rely on a single reference to represent the genetic diversity in its germplasm.

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February 14, 2017

A genomic view of short tandem repeats.

Short tandem repeats (STRs) are some of the fastest mutating loci in the genome. Tools for accurately profiling STRs from high-throughput sequencing data have enabled genome-wide interrogation of more than a million STRs across hundreds of individuals. These catalogs have revealed that STRs are highly multiallelic and may contribute more de novo mutations than any other variant class. Recent studies have leveraged these catalogs to show that STRs play a widespread role in regulating gene expression and other molecular phenotypes. These analyses suggest that STRs are an underappreciated but rich reservoir of variation that likely make significant contributions to Mendelian…

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February 13, 2017

Case Study: Improving precision medicine studies in Asia using ethnicity-specific human reference genomes and PacBio long-read sequencing

Several new high-quality human genome assemblies produce ethnicity-specific reference sequences and show how scientists can use this genetic information to improve precision medicine studies in Asian sub- populations. These projects demonstrate how long- read SMRT Sequencing provides robust detection of polymorphic structural variants in clinically relevant gene coding regions and phases variants into haplotypes.

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December 3, 2016

STR-realigner: a realignment method for short tandem repeat regions.

In the estimation of repeat numbers in a short tandem repeat (STR) region from high-throughput sequencing data, two types of strategies are mainly taken: a strategy based on counting repeat patterns included in sequence reads spanning the region and a strategy based on estimating the difference between the actual insert size and the insert size inferred from paired-end reads. The quality of sequence alignment is crucial, especially in the former approaches although usual alignment methods have difficulty in STR regions due to insertions and deletions caused by the variations of repeat numbers.We proposed a new dynamic programming based realignment method…

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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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October 20, 2016

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Identification and characterization of informative genetic structural variants for neurodegenerative diseases

Michael Lutz, from the Duke University Medical Center, discussed a recently published software tool that can now be used in a pipeline with SMRT Sequencing data to find structural variant biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Lewy body dementia. His team is particularly interested in short sequence repeats and short tandem repeats, which have already been implicated in neurodegenerative disease.

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October 16, 2016

Nature Webinar: Large interrupted pentanucleotide repeats of SCA10

Tetsuo Ashizawa, Director of the Neuroscience Research Program at Houston Methodist Research Institute, presents a novel amplification-free targeted enrichment method using CRISPR-Cas9 for the disease-causing repeat expansion in SCA10. Using long-read sequencing, he has been able to span multi-kilobase repetitive regions and identify interruption sequence motifs that correlate with alternative clinical phenotypes in individuals from varying ethnic backgrounds. Webinar registration required.

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August 31, 2016

Short tandem repeat number estimation from paired-end reads for multiple individuals by considering coalescent tree.

Two types of approaches are mainly considered for the repeat number estimation in short tandem repeat (STR) regions from high-throughput sequencing data: approaches directly counting repeat patterns included in sequence reads spanning the region and approaches based on detecting the difference between the insert size inferred from aligned paired-end reads and the actual insert size. Although the accuracy of repeat numbers estimated with the former approaches is high, the size of target STR regions is limited to the length of sequence reads. On the other hand, the latter approaches can handle STR regions longer than the length of sequence reads.…

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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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October 1, 2015

PacBio sequencing and its applications.

Single-molecule, real-time sequencing developed by Pacific BioSciences offers longer read lengths than the second-generation sequencing (SGS) technologies, making it well-suited for unsolved problems in genome, transcriptome, and epigenetics research. The highly-contiguous de novo assemblies using PacBio sequencing can close gaps in current reference assemblies and characterize structural variation (SV) in personal genomes. With longer reads, we can sequence through extended repetitive regions and detect mutations, many of which are associated with diseases. Moreover, PacBio transcriptome sequencing is advantageous for the identification of gene isoforms and facilitates reliable discoveries of novel genes and novel isoforms of annotated genes, due to its…

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January 29, 2015

Resolving the complexity of the human genome using single-molecule sequencing.

The human genome is arguably the most complete mammalian reference assembly, yet more than 160 euchromatic gaps remain and aspects of its structural variation remain poorly understood ten years after its completion. To identify missing sequence and genetic variation, here we sequence and analyse a haploid human genome (CHM1) using single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing. We close or extend 55% of the remaining interstitial gaps in the human GRCh37 reference genome--78% of which carried long runs of degenerate short tandem repeats, often several kilobases in length, embedded within (G+C)-rich genomic regions. We resolve the complete sequence of 26,079 euchromatic structural variants…

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December 15, 2014

Resolving complex tandem repeats with long reads.

Resolving tandemly repeated genomic sequences is a necessary step in improving our understanding of the human genome. Short tandem repeats (TRs), or microsatellites, are often used as molecular markers in genetics, and clinically, variation in microsatellites can lead to genetic disorders like Huntington's diseases. Accurately resolving repeats, and in particular TRs, remains a challenging task in genome alignment, assembly and variation calling. Though tools have been developed for detecting microsatellites in short-read sequencing data, these are limited in the size and types of events they can resolve. Single-molecule sequencing technologies may potentially resolve a broader spectrum of TRs given their…

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March 15, 2014

Rapid detection of expanded short tandem repeats in personal genomics using hybrid sequencing.

Long expansions of short tandem repeats (STRs), i.e. DNA repeats of 2-6 nt, are associated with some genetic diseases. Cost-efficient high-throughput sequencing can quickly produce billions of short reads that would be useful for uncovering disease-associated STRs. However, enumerating STRs in short reads remains largely unexplored because of the difficulty in elucidating STRs much longer than 100 bp, the typical length of short reads.We propose ab initio procedures for sensing and locating long STRs promptly by using the frequency distribution of all STRs and paired-end read information. We validated the reproducibility of this method using biological replicates and used it…

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