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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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October 1, 2017

An integrated strategy combining DNA walking and NGS to detect GMOs.

Recently, we developed a DNA walking system for the detection and characterization of a broad spectrum of GMOs in routine analysis of food/feed matrices. Here, we present a new version with improved throughput and sensitivity by coupling the DNA walking system to Pacific Bioscience® Next-generation sequencing technology. The performance of the new strategy was thoroughly assessed through several assays. First, we tested its detection and identification capability on grains with high or low GMO content. Second, the potential impacts of food processing were investigated using rice noodle samples. Finally, GMO mixtures and a real-life sample were analyzed to illustrate the…

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June 21, 2017

Deletion-bias in DNA double-strand break repair differentially contributes to plant genome shrinkage.

In order to prevent genome instability, cells need to be protected by a number of repair mechanisms, including DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. The extent to which DSB repair, biased towards deletions or insertions, contributes to evolutionary diversification of genome size is still under debate. We analyzed mutation spectra in Arabidopsis thaliana and in barley (Hordeum vulgare) by PacBio sequencing of three DSB-targeted loci each, uncovering repair via gene conversion, single strand annealing (SSA) or nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Furthermore, phylogenomic comparisons between A. thaliana and two related species were used to detect naturally occurring deletions during Arabidopsis evolution. Arabidopsis thaliana revealed…

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March 1, 2017

Re-sequencing transgenic plants revealed rearrangements at T-DNA inserts, and integration of a short T-DNA fragment, but no increase of small mutations elsewhere.

Transformation resulted in deletions and translocations at T-DNA inserts, but not in genome-wide small mutations. A tiny T-DNA splinter was detected that probably would remain undetected by conventional techniques. We investigated to which extent Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation is mutagenic, on top of inserting T-DNA. To prevent mutations due to in vitro propagation, we applied floral dip transformation of Arabidopsis thaliana. We re-sequenced the genomes of five primary transformants, and compared these to genomic sequences derived from a pool of four wild-type plants. By genome-wide comparisons, we identified ten small mutations in the genomes of the five transgenic plants, not correlated…

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February 1, 2017

MAR-Mediated transgene integration into permissive chromatin and increased expression by recombination pathway engineering.

Untargeted plasmid integration into mammalian cell genomes remains a poorly understood and inefficient process. The formation of plasmid concatemers and their genomic integration has been ascribed either to non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) or homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair pathways. However, a direct involvement of these pathways has remained unclear. Here, we show that the silencing of many HR factors enhanced plasmid concatemer formation and stable expression of the gene of interest in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, while the inhibition of NHEJ had no effect. However, genomic integration was decreased by the silencing of specific HR components, such as Rad51, and…

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June 1, 2016

A pigeonpea gene confers resistance to Asian soybean rust in soybean.

Asian soybean rust (ASR), caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, is one of the most economically important crop diseases, but is only treatable with fungicides, which are becoming less effective owing to the emergence of fungicide resistance. There are no commercial soybean cultivars with durable resistance to P. pachyrhizi, and although soybean resistance loci have been mapped, no resistance genes have been cloned. We report the cloning of a P. pachyrhizi resistance gene CcRpp1 (Cajanus cajan Resistance against Phakopsora pachyrhizi 1) from pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) and show that CcRpp1 confers full resistance to P. pachyrhizi in soybean. Our findings show…

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January 1, 2016

Effects of genome structure variation, homeologous genes and repetitive DNA on polyploid crop research in the age of genomics.

Compared to diploid species, allopolyploid crop species possess more complex genomes, higher productivity, and greater adaptability to changing environments. Next generation sequencing techniques have produced high-density genetic maps, whole genome sequences, transcriptomes and epigenomes for important polyploid crops. However, several problems interfere with the full application of next generation sequencing techniques to these crops. Firstly, different types of genomic variation affect sequence assembly and QTL mapping. Secondly, duplicated or homoeologous genes can diverge in function and then lead to emergence of many minor QTL, which increases difficulties in fine mapping, cloning and marker assisted selection. Thirdly, repetitive DNA sequences arising…

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October 1, 2015

Identification of the genomic insertion site of the thyroid peroxidase promoter-Cre recombinase transgene using a novel, efficient, next-generation DNA sequencing method.

It can be useful to know the transgene insertion site in transgenic mice for a variety of reasons, but determining the insertion site generally is a time consuming, expensive, and laborious task.A simple method is presented to determine transgene insertion sites that combines the enrichment of a sequencing library by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for sequences containing the transgene, followed by next-generation sequencing of the enriched library. This method was applied to determine the site of integration of the thyroid peroxidase promoter-Cre recombinase mouse transgene that is commonly used to create thyroid-specific gene deletions.The insertion site was found to be…

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October 1, 2015

The genus Brachypodium as a model for perenniality and polyploidy

The genus Brachypodium contains annual and perennial species with both diploid and polyploid genomes. Like the annual species B. distachyon, some of the perennial and polyploid species have traits compatible with use as a model system (e.g. small genomes, rapid generation time, self-fertile and easy to grow). Thus, there is an opportunity to leverage the resources and knowledge developed for B. distachyon to use other Brachypodium species as models for perenniality and the regulation and evolution of polyploid genomes. There are two factors driving an increased interest in perenniality. First, several perennial grasses are being developed as biomass crops for…

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January 1, 2015

Broad CTL response is required to clear latent HIV-1 due to dominance of escape mutations.

Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 persists in a stable latent reservoir, primarily in resting memory CD4(+) T cells. This reservoir presents a major barrier to the cure of HIV-1 infection. To purge the reservoir, pharmacological reactivation of latent HIV-1 has been proposed and tested both in vitro and in vivo. A key remaining question is whether virus-specific immune mechanisms, including cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), can clear infected cells in ART-treated patients after latency is reversed. Here we show that there is a striking all or none pattern for CTL escape mutations in HIV-1 Gag epitopes. Unless ART…

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January 1, 2015

Strategies for optimizing algal biology for enhanced biomass production

One of the most environmentally sustainable ways to produce high-energy density (oils) feed stocks for the production of liquid transportation fuels is from biomass. Photosynthetic carbon capture combined with biomass combustion (point source) and subsequent carbon capture and sequestration has also been proposed in the intergovernmental panel on climate change report as one of the most effective and economical strategies to remediate atmospheric greenhouse gases. To maximize photosynthetic carbon capture efficiency and energy-return-on-investment, we must develop biomass production systems that achieve the greatest yields with the lowest inputs. Numerous studies have demonstrated that microalgae have among the greatest potentials for…

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November 1, 2014

Vector design Tour de Force: integrating combinatorial and rational approaches to derive novel adeno-associated virus variants.

Methodologies to improve existing adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy include either rational approaches or directed evolution to derive capsid variants characterized by superior transduction efficiencies in targeted tissues. Here, we integrated both approaches in one unified design strategy of "virtual family shuffling" to derive a combinatorial capsid library whereby only variable regions on the surface of the capsid are modified. Individual sublibraries were first assembled in order to preselect compatible amino acid residues within restricted surface-exposed regions to minimize the generation of dead-end variants. Subsequently, the successful families were interbred to derive a combined library of ~8?×?10(5) complexity.…

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October 1, 2014

Adeno-associated virus type 2 wild-type and vector-mediated genomic integration profiles of human diploid fibroblasts analyzed by third-generation PacBio DNA sequencing.

Genome-wide analysis of adeno-associated virus (AAV) type 2 integration in HeLa cells has shown that wild-type AAV integrates at numerous genomic sites, including AAVS1 on chromosome 19q13.42. Multiple GAGY/C repeats, resembling consensus AAV Rep-binding sites are preferred, whereas rep-deficient AAV vectors (rAAV) regularly show a random integration profile. This study is the first study to analyze wild-type AAV integration in diploid human fibroblasts. Applying high-throughput third-generation PacBio-based DNA sequencing, integration profiles of wild-type AAV and rAAV are compared side by side. Bioinformatic analysis reveals that both wild-type AAV and rAAV prefer open chromatin regions. Although genomic features of AAV integration…

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July 1, 2014

Alternative splice variants of AID are not stoichiometrically present at the protein level in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Activation-induced deaminase (AID) is a DNA-mutating enzyme that mediates class-switch recombination as well as somatic hypermutation of antibody genes in B cells. Due to off-target activity, AID is implicated in lymphoma development by introducing genome-wide DNA damage and initiating chromosomal translocations such as c-myc/IgH. Several alternative splice transcripts of AID have been reported in activated B cells as well as malignant B cells such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). As most commercially available antibodies fail to recognize alternative splice variants, their abundance in vivo, and hence their biological significance, has not been determined. In this study, we assessed the protein…

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June 1, 2014

Co-option of Sox3 as the male-determining factor on the Y chromosome in the fish Oryzias dancena.

Sex chromosomes harbour a primary sex-determining signal that triggers sexual development of the organism. However, diverse sex chromosome systems have been evolved in vertebrates. Here we use positional cloning to identify the sex-determining locus of a medaka-related fish, Oryzias dancena, and find that the locus on the Y chromosome contains a cis-regulatory element that upregulates neighbouring Sox3 expression in developing gonad. Sex-reversed phenotypes in Sox3(Y) transgenic fish, and Sox3(Y) loss-of-function mutants all point to its critical role in sex determination. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Sox3 initiates testicular differentiation by upregulating expression of downstream Gsdf, which is highly conserved in fish…

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