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January 1, 2017

Genomic analysis of 495 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium reveals broad dissemination of a vanA plasmid in more than 19 clones from Copenhagen, Denmark.

From 2012 to 2014, there has been a huge increase in vancomycin-resistant (vanA) Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 602 patients infected or colonized with VREfm in 2014 compared with just 22 in 2012. The objective of this study was to describe the genetic epidemiology of VREfm to assess the contribution of clonal spread and horizontal transfer of the vanA transposon (Tn1546) and plasmid in the dissemination of VREfm in hospitals.VREfm from Copenhagen, Denmark (2012-14) were whole-genome sequenced. The clonal structure was determined and the structure of Tn1546-like transposons was characterized. One VREfm isolate belonging to the largest clonal…

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January 1, 2017

IncFII conjugative plasmid-mediated transmission of blaNDM-1 elements among animal-borne Escherichia coli strains.

This study aims to investigate the prevalence and transmission dynamics of the blaNDM-1 gene in animal Escherichia coli strains. Two IncFII blaNDM-1-encoding plasmids with only minor structural variation in the MDR region, pHNEC46-NDM and pHNEC55-NDM, were found to be responsible for the transmission of blaNDM-1 in these strains. The blaNDM-1 gene can be incorporated into plasmids and stably inherited in animal-borne E. coli strains that can be maintained in animal gut microflora even without carbapenem selection pressure. Copyright © 2016 American Society for Microbiology.

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December 7, 2016

Assessing the gene content of the megagenome: sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana).

Sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Douglas) is within the subgenus Strobus with an estimated genome size of 31 Gbp. Transcriptomic resources are of particular interest in conifers due to the challenges presented in their megagenomes for gene identification. In this study, we present the first comprehensive survey of the P. lambertiana transcriptome through deep sequencing of a variety of tissue types to generate more than 2.5 billion short reads. Third generation, long reads generated through PacBio Iso-Seq has been included for the first time in conifers to combat the challenges associated with de novo transcriptome assembly. A technology comparison is provided…

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December 6, 2016

Mechanisms of evolution in high-consequence drug resistance plasmids.

The dissemination of resistance among bacteria has been facilitated by the fact that resistance genes are usually located on a diverse and evolving set of transmissible plasmids. However, the mechanisms generating diversity and enabling adaptation within highly successful resistance plasmids have remained obscure, despite their profound clinical significance. To understand these mechanisms, we have performed a detailed analysis of the mobilome (the entire mobile genetic element content) of a set of previously sequenced carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. This analysis revealed that plasmid reorganizations occurring in the natural context of colonization of human hosts…

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December 1, 2016

Population scale mapping of transposable element diversity reveals links to gene regulation and epigenomic variation.

Variation in the presence or absence of transposable elements (TEs) is a major source of genetic variation between individuals. Here, we identified 23,095 TE presence/absence variants between 216 Arabidopsis accessions. Most TE variants were rare, and we find these rare variants associated with local extremes of gene expression and DNA methylation levels within the population. Of the common alleles identified, two thirds were not in linkage disequilibrium with nearby SNPs, implicating these variants as a source of novel genetic diversity. Many common TE variants were associated with significantly altered expression of nearby genes, and a major fraction of inter-accession DNA…

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November 8, 2016

Genome sequence and analysis of the Japanese morning glory Ipomoea nil.

Ipomoea is the largest genus in the family Convolvulaceae. Ipomoea nil (Japanese morning glory) has been utilized as a model plant to study the genetic basis of floricultural traits, with over 1,500 mutant lines. In the present study, we have utilized second- and third-generation-sequencing platforms, and have reported a draft genome of I. nil with a scaffold N50 of 2.88?Mb (contig N50 of 1.87?Mb), covering 98% of the 750?Mb genome. Scaffolds covering 91.42% of the assembly are anchored to 15 pseudo-chromosomes. The draft genome has enabled the identification and cataloguing of the Tpn1 family transposons, known as the major mutagen…

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October 1, 2016

AgIn: Measuring the landscape of CpG methylation of individual repetitive elements.

Determining the methylation state of regions with high copy numbers is challenging for second-generation sequencing, because the read length is insufficient to map reads uniquely, especially when repetitive regions are long and nearly identical to each other. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is a promising method for observing such regions, because it is not vulnerable to GC bias, it produces long read lengths, and its kinetic information is sensitive to DNA modifications.We propose a novel linear-time algorithm that combines the kinetic information for neighboring CpG sites and increases the confidence in identifying the methylation states of those sites. Using a practical…

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October 1, 2016

Homologous recombination within large chromosomal regions facilitates acquisition of beta-lactam and vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecium.

The transfer of DNA between Enterococcus faecium strains has been characterized by both the movement of well-defined genetic elements and by the large-scale transfer of genomic DNA fragments. In this work we report on the whole genome analysis of transconjugants resulting from mating events between the vancomycin-resistant E. faecium C68 strain and vancomycin susceptible D344RRF to discern the mechanism by which the transferred regions enter the recipient chromosome. Vancomycin-resistant transconjugants from five independent matings were analysed by whole genome sequencing. In all cases but one, the penicillin binding protein 5 gene (pbp5) and the Tn5382-vancomycin resistance transposon were transferred together…

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September 26, 2016

The deep origin and recent loss of venom toxin genes in rattlesnakes.

The genetic origin of novel traits is a central but challenging puzzle in evolutionary biology. Among snakes, phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-related toxins have evolved in different lineages to function as potent neurotoxins, myotoxins, or hemotoxins. Here, we traced the genomic origin and evolution of PLA2 toxins by examining PLA2 gene number, organization, and expression in both neurotoxic and non-neurotoxic rattlesnakes. We found that even though most North American rattlesnakes do not produce neurotoxins, the genes of a specialized heterodimeric neurotoxin predate the origin of rattlesnakes and were present in their last common ancestor (~22 mya). The neurotoxin genes were then deleted independently…

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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 23, 2016

Living apart together: crosstalk between the core and supernumerary genomes in a fungal plant pathogen.

Eukaryotes display remarkable genome plasticity, which can include supernumerary chromosomes that differ markedly from the core chromosomes. Despite the widespread occurrence of supernumerary chromosomes in fungi, their origin, relation to the core genome and the reason for their divergent characteristics are still largely unknown. The complexity of genome assembly due to the presence of repetitive DNA partially accounts for this.Here we use single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to assemble the genome of a prominent fungal wheat pathogen, Fusarium poae, including at least one supernumerary chromosome. The core genome contains limited transposable elements (TEs) and no gene duplications, while the supernumerary genome…

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August 1, 2016

Suppressed recombination and unique candidate genes in the divergent haplotype encoding Fhb1, a major Fusarium head blight resistance locus in wheat.

Fine mapping and sequencing revealed 28 genes in the non-recombining haplotype containing Fhb1 . Of these, only a GDSL lipase gene shows a pathogen-dependent expression pattern. Fhb1 is a prominent Fusarium head blight resistance locus of wheat, which has been successfully introgressed in adapted breeding material, where it confers a significant increase in overall resistance to the causal pathogen Fusarium graminearum and the fungal virulence factor and mycotoxin deoxynivalenol. The Fhb1 region has been resolved for the susceptible wheat reference genotype Chinese Spring, yet the causal gene itself has not been identified in resistant cultivars. Here, we report the establishment…

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August 1, 2016

Transposons passively and actively contribute to evolution of the two-speed genome of a fungal pathogen.

Genomic plasticity enables adaptation to changing environments, which is especially relevant for pathogens that engage in "arms races" with their hosts. In many pathogens, genes mediating virulence cluster in highly variable, transposon-rich, physically distinct genomic compartments. However, understanding of the evolution of these compartments, and the role of transposons therein, remains limited. Here, we show that transposons are the major driving force for adaptive genome evolution in the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae We show that highly variable lineage-specific (LS) regions evolved by genomic rearrangements that are mediated by erroneous double-strand repair, often utilizing transposons. We furthermore show that recent…

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July 7, 2016

An improved genome assembly of Azadirachta indica A. Juss.

Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), an evergreen tree of the Meliaceae family, is known for its medicinal, cosmetic, pesticidal and insecticidal properties. We had previously sequenced and published the draft genome of the plant, using mainly short read sequencing data. In this report, we present an improved genome assembly generated using additional short reads from Illumina and long reads from Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencer. We assembled short reads and error corrected long reads using Platanus, an assembler designed to perform well for heterozygous genomes. The updated genome assembly (v2.0) yielded 3- and 3.5-fold increase in N50 and N75, respectively; 2.6-fold…

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July 1, 2016

Analysis of tandem gene copies in maize chromosomal regions reconstructed from long sequence reads.

Haplotype variation not only involves SNPs but also insertions and deletions, in particular gene copy number variations. However, comparisons of individual genomes have been difficult because traditional sequencing methods give too short reads to unambiguously reconstruct chromosomal regions containing repetitive DNA sequences. An example of such a case is the protein gene family in maize that acts as a sink for reduced nitrogen in the seed. Previously, 41-48 gene copies of the alpha zein gene family that spread over six loci spanning between 30- and 500-kb chromosomal regions have been described in two Iowa Stiff Stalk (SS) inbreds. Analyses of…

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