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August 1, 2018

Genomic signatures of mitonuclear coevolution across populations of Tigriopus californicus.

The copepod Tigriopus californicus shows extensive population divergence and is becoming a model for understanding allopatric differentiation and the early stages of speciation. Here, we report a high-quality reference genome for one population (~190?megabases across 12 scaffolds, and ~15,500 protein-coding genes). Comparison with other arthropods reveals 2,526 genes presumed to be specific to T. californicus, with an apparent proliferation of genes involved in ion transport and receptor activity. Beyond the reference population, we report re-sequenced genomes of seven additional populations, spanning the continuum of reproductive isolation. Populations show extreme mitochondrial DNA divergence, with higher levels of amino acid differentiation than…

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January 1, 2018

Contemporary evolution of a Lepidopteran species, Heliothis virescens, in response to modern agricultural practices.

Adaptation to human-induced environmental change has the potential to profoundly influence the genomic architecture of affected species. This is particularly true in agricultural ecosystems, where anthropogenic selection pressure is strong. Heliothis virescens primarily feeds on cotton in its larval stages, and US populations have been declining since the widespread planting of transgenic cotton, which endogenously expresses proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). No physiological adaptation to Bt toxin has been found in the field, so adaptation in this altered environment could involve (i) shifts in host plant selection mechanisms to avoid cotton, (ii) changes in detoxification mechanisms required for cotton-feeding…

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August 11, 2017

Increased risk of low birth weight in women with placental malaria associated with P. falciparum VAR2CSA clade.

Pregnancy associated malaria (PAM) causes adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes owing to Plasmodium falciparum accumulation in the placenta. Placental accumulation is mediated by P. falciparum protein VAR2CSA, a leading PAM-specific vaccine target. The extent of its antigen diversity and impact on clinical outcomes remain poorly understood. Through amplicon deep-sequencing placental malaria samples from women in Malawi and Benin, we assessed sequence diversity of VAR2CSA's ID1-DBL2x region, containing putative vaccine targets and estimated associations of specific clades with adverse birth outcomes. Overall, var2csa diversity was high and haplotypes subdivided into five clades, the largest two defined by homology to parasites strains,…

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May 29, 2017

Analysis of the genome and mobilome of a dissimilatory arsenate reducing Aeromonas sp. O23A reveals multiple mechanisms for heavy metal resistance and metabolism.

Aeromonas spp. are among the most ubiquitous microorganisms, as they have been isolated from different environmental niches including waters, soil, as well as wounds and digestive tracts of poikilothermic animals and humans. Although much attention has been paid to the pathogenicity of Aeromonads, the role of these bacteria in environmentally important processes, such as transformation of heavy metals, remains to be discovered. Therefore, the aim of this study was a detailed genomic characterization of Aeromonas sp. O23A, the first representative of this genus capable of dissimilatory arsenate reduction. The strain was isolated from microbial mats from the Zloty Stok mine…

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January 4, 2017

A community-based culture collection for targeting novel plant growth-promoting bacteria from the sugarcane microbiome.

The soil-plant ecosystem harbors an immense microbial diversity that challenges investigative approaches to study traits underlying plant-microbe association. Studies solely based on culture-dependent techniques have overlooked most microbial diversity. Here we describe the concomitant use of culture-dependent and -independent techniques to target plant-beneficial microbial groups from the sugarcane microbiome. The community-based culture collection (CBC) approach was used to access microbes from roots and stalks. The CBC recovered 399 unique bacteria representing 15.9% of the rhizosphere core microbiome and 61.6-65.3% of the endophytic core microbiomes of stalks. By cross-referencing the CBC (culture-dependent) with the sugarcane microbiome profile (culture-independent), we designed a…

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November 21, 2016

High-resolution expression map of the Arabidopsis root reveals alternative splicing and lincRNA regulation.

The extent to which alternative splicing and long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) contribute to the specialized functions of cells within an organ is poorly understood. We generated a comprehensive dataset of gene expression from individual cell types of the Arabidopsis root. Comparisons across cell types revealed that alternative splicing tends to remove parts of coding regions from a longer, major isoform, providing evidence for a progressive mechanism of splicing. Cell-type-specific intron retention suggested a possible origin for this common form of alternative splicing. Coordinated alternative splicing across developmental stages pointed to a role in regulating differentiation. Consistent with this hypothesis, distinct isoforms…

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August 2, 2016

Improved long read correction for de novo assembly using an FM-index

Long read sequencing is changing the landscape of genomic research, especially de novo assembly. Despite the high error rate inherent to long read technologies, increased read lengths dramatically improve the continuity and accuracy of genome assemblies. However, the cost and throughput of these technologies limits their application to complex genomes. One solution is to decrease the cost and time to assemble novel genomes by leveraging textquotedbllefthybridtextquotedblright assemblies that use long reads for scaffolding and short reads for accuracy. To this end, we describe a novel application of a multi-string Burrows-Wheeler transform with auxiliary FM-index to correct errors in long read…

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July 12, 2016

Multiplex amplicon sequencing for microbe identification in community-based culture collections.

Microbiome analysis using metagenomic sequencing has revealed a vast microbial diversity associated with plants. Identifying the molecular functions associated with microbiome-plant interaction is a significant challenge concerning the development of microbiome-derived technologies applied to agriculture. An alternative to accelerate the discovery of the microbiome benefits to plants is to construct microbial culture collections concomitant with accessing microbial community structure and abundance. However, traditional methods of isolation, cultivation, and identification of microbes are time-consuming and expensive. Here we describe a method for identification of microbes in culture collections constructed by picking colonies from primary platings that may contain single or multiple…

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May 31, 2016

Reply to Bemm et al. and Arakawa: Identifying foreign genes in independent Hypsibius dujardini genome assemblies.

Our report (1) describing the discovery of extensive horizontal gene transfer in a tardigrade genome has raised questions from other groups who were sequencing the Hypsibius dujardini genome in parallel or who have done new experiments and analyses since our report (2??–5). Bemm et al. (2) now report filtering our data for likely contaminants, resulting in a new, prefiltered genome assembly. Arakawa (3) has sequenced genomes of starved, washed, individual animals that had been treated with antibiotics for 48 h, and used this genomic sequence and RNA-Seq data to identify likely bona fide tardigrade contigs. Two other reports have contributed…

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May 1, 2016

Transfer of the methicillin resistance genomic island among staphylococci by conjugation.

Methicillin resistance creates a major obstacle for treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections. The resistance gene, mecA, is carried on a large (20 kb to?>?60 kb) genomic island, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), that excises from and inserts site-specifically into the staphylococcal chromosome. However, although SCCmec has been designated a mobile genetic element, a mechanism for its transfer has not been defined. Here we demonstrate the capture and conjugative transfer of excised SCCmec. SCCmec was captured on pGO400, a mupirocin-resistant derivative of the pGO1/pSK41 staphylococcal conjugative plasmid lineage, and pGO400::SCCmec (pRM27) was transferred by filter-mating into both homologous and heterologous S.…

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December 29, 2015

Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the transfer of genes between species, has been recognized recently as more pervasive than previously suspected. Here, we report evidence for an unprecedented degree of HGT into an animal genome, based on a draft genome of a tardigrade, Hypsibius dujardini. Tardigrades are microscopic eight-legged animals that are famous for their ability to survive extreme conditions. Genome sequencing, direct confirmation of physical linkage, and phylogenetic analysis revealed that a large fraction of the H. dujardini genome is derived from diverse bacteria as well as plants, fungi, and Archaea. We estimate that approximately one-sixth of tardigrade genes…

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