April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid Gene Cloning in Wheat

The identification of wheat and barley genes controlling important agronomic traits using positional cloning has traditionally been a challenging and time-consuming procedure. This is due to the enormous genome size and high repeat content from transposable elements (TEs). Low marker density, suppressed recombination, and the high cost of generating a physical contig across a genetically defined map interval have further restricted the application of positional approximation. Over the past decade, the cost of DNA sequencing has significantly dropped, as has our ability to computationally analyze large quantities of DNA sequence data. This has enabled researchers to exploit next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies more routinely to accelerate the gene cloning process. In this chapter, we discuss several newly emerging cloning methods that combine NGS technologies with recent advances in molecular genomics to overcome previous limitations of gene cloning in wheat and barley.


April 21, 2020  |  

Applying the latest advances in genomics and phenomics for trait discovery in polyploid wheat.

Improving traits in wheat has historically been challenging due to its large and polyploid genome, limited genetic diversity and in-field phenotyping constraints. However, within recent years many of these barriers have been lowered. The availability of a chromosome-level assembly of the wheat genome now facilitates a step-change in wheat genetics and provides a common platform for resources, including variation data, gene expression data and genetic markers. The development of sequenced mutant populations and gene-editing techniques now enables the rapid assessment of gene function in wheat directly. The ability to alter gene function in a targeted manner will unmask the effects of homoeolog redundancy and allow the hidden potential of this polyploid genome to be discovered. New techniques to identify and exploit the genetic diversity within wheat wild relatives now enable wheat breeders to take advantage of these additional sources of variation to address challenges facing food production. Finally, advances in phenomics have unlocked rapid screening of populations for many traits of interest both in greenhouses and in the field. Looking forwards, integrating diverse data types, including genomic, epigenetic and phenomics data, will take advantage of big data approaches including machine learning to understand trait biology in wheat in unprecedented detail. © 2018 The Authors. The Plant Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


October 23, 2019  |  

Overview of the wheat genetic transformation and breeding status in China.

In the past two decades, Chinese scientists have achieved significant progress on three aspects of wheat genetic transformation. First, the wheat transformation platform has been established and optimized to improve the transformation efficiency, shorten the time required from starting of transformation procedure to the fertile transgenic wheat plants obtained as well as to overcome the problem of genotype-dependent for wheat genetic transformation in wide range of wheat elite varieties. Second, with the help of many emerging techniques such as CRISPR/cas9 function of over 100 wheat genes has been investigated. Finally, modern technology has been combined with the traditional breeding technique such as crossing to accelerate the application of wheat transformation. Overall, the wheat end-use quality and the characteristics of wheat stress tolerance have been improved by wheat genetic engineering technique. So far, wheat transgenic lines integrated with quality-improved genes and stress tolerant genes have been on the way of Production Test stage in the field. The debates and the future studies on wheat transformation have been discussed, and the brief summary of Chinese wheat breeding research history has also been provided in this review.


September 22, 2019  |  

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop. © 2017 Clavijo et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

cDNA library enrichment of full length transcripts for SMRT long read sequencing.

The utility of genome assemblies does not only rely on the quality of the assembled genome sequence, but also on the quality of the gene annotations. The Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq technology is a powerful support for accurate eukaryotic gene model annotation as it allows for direct readout of full-length cDNA sequences without the need for noisy short read-based transcript assembly. We propose the implementation of the TeloPrime Full Length cDNA Amplification kit to the Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq technology in order to enrich for genuine full-length transcripts in the cDNA libraries. We provide evidence that TeloPrime outperforms the commonly used SMARTer PCR cDNA Synthesis Kit in identifying transcription start and end sites in Arabidopsis thaliana. Furthermore, we show that TeloPrime-based Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq can be successfully applied to the polyploid genome of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) not only to efficiently annotate gene models, but also to identify novel transcription sites, gene homeologs, splicing isoforms and previously unidentified gene loci.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio sequencing of gene families – a case study with wheat gluten genes.

Amino acids in wheat (Triticum aestivum) seeds mainly accumulate in storage proteins called gliadins and glutenins. Gliadins contain a/ß-, ?- and ?-types whereas glutenins contain HMW- and LMW-types. Known gliadin and glutenin sequences were largely determined through cloning and sequencing by capillary electrophoresis. This time-consuming process prevents us to intensively study the variation of each orthologous gene copy among cultivars. The throughput and sequencing length of Pacific Bioscience RS (PacBio) single molecule sequencing platform make it feasible to construct contiguous and non-chimeric RNA sequences. We assembled 424 wheat storage protein transcripts from ten wheat cultivars by using just one single-molecule-real-time cell. The protein genes from wheat cultivar Chinese Spring are comparable to known sequences from NCBI. We demonstrated real-time sequencing of gene families with high-throughput and low-cost. This method can be applied to studies of gene amplification and copy number variation among species and cultivars. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-quality RNA isolation from wheat immature grains

Grain quality is one of the most important targets in wheat breeding. Transcriptome analyses of wheat developing grains and endosperm have been performed using the microarray and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) approaches (Wan et al. 2008, 2009; Nemeth et al. 2010; Pellny et al. 2012; Dong et al. 2015). For the RNA-seq analysis of the grain transcriptome and precise quantification of each transcript in developing grain and endosperm, the high-quality RNA is essential. For the microarray analysis, =7.3 RIN (RNA integrity number) value for the RNA sample quality is required according to the Agilent microarray protocol. In the previous report for the transcriptome of wheat developing grains, the total RNA samples with =8.0 RIN values were used for the RNA-seq analysis based on the PacBio and Illumina platforms (Dong et al. 2015). Some RNA extraction buffers containing SDS, CTAB, or TRIzol® reagent (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, Massachusetts) and several commercial kits for RNA isolation have been used to isolate total RNA from wheat grain and endosperm (Kawakami et al. 1992; Wan et al. 2008; Kang et al. 2013). However, total RNA samples from the wheat developing and immature grains are often damaged due to high content of polysaccharides and high stickiness of the solution homogenized with the RNA extraction buffer, and thus extraction of the high-quality RNA with high RIN value is quite difficult. Here, we report a protocol for the wheat grain RNA extraction using Maxwell RSC Plant RNA Kit (Promega, Madison, Wisconsin).


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-molecule real-time transcript sequencing facilitates common wheat genome annotation and grain transcriptome research.

The large and complex hexaploid genome has greatly hindered genomics studies of common wheat (Triticum aestivum, AABBDD). Here, we investigated transcripts in common wheat developing caryopses using the emerging single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology PacBio RSII, and assessed the resultant data for improving common wheat genome annotation and grain transcriptome research.We obtained 197,709 full-length non-chimeric (FLNC) reads, 74.6 % of which were estimated to carry complete open reading frame. A total of 91,881 high-quality FLNC reads were identified and mapped to 16,188 chromosomal loci, corresponding to 13,162 known genes and 3026 new genes not annotated previously. Although some FLNC reads could not be unambiguously mapped to the current draft genome sequence, many of them are likely useful for studying highly similar homoeologous or paralogous loci or for improving chromosomal contig assembly in further research. The 91,881 high-quality FLNC reads represented 22,768 unique transcripts, 9591 of which were newly discovered. We found 180 transcripts each spanning two or three previously annotated adjacent loci, suggesting that they should be merged to form correct gene models. Finally, our data facilitated the identification of 6030 genes differentially regulated during caryopsis development, and full-length transcripts for 72 transcribed gluten gene members that are important for the end-use quality control of common wheat.Our work demonstrated the value of PacBio transcript sequencing for improving common wheat genome annotation through uncovering the loci and full-length transcripts not discovered previously. The resource obtained may aid further structural genomics and grain transcriptome studies of common wheat.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio for haplotyping in gene families.

The throughput and read length provided by Pacific Bioscience (PacBio) Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing platform makes it feasible to construct contiguous, non-chimeric sequences. This is especially useful for genes with repetitive sequences in their gene bodies in gene families. We illustrate the use of PacBio to sequence and assemble hundreds of transcripts of gluten gene families from different cultivars of wheat using sequence from a single SMRT cell. To this end, we barcoded amplicons from different cultivars, then pooled these into one library for sequencing. Sequencing reads were later separated by the barcodes and further sorted into different gene groups by blast. The reads from each gene are then assembled by SeqmanNGen software. Given the length of 1 kb for each sequence derived from an initial molecule, the phase of the polymorphisms is not lost and can be used to infer also haplotype differences between different cultivars.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide analysis of complex wheat gliadins, the dominant carriers of celiac disease epitopes.

Gliadins, specified by six compound chromosomal loci (Gli-A1/B1/D1 and Gli-A2/B2/D2) in hexaploid bread wheat, are the dominant carriers of celiac disease (CD) epitopes. Because of their complexity, genome-wide characterization of gliadins is a strong challenge. Here, we approached this challenge by combining transcriptomic, proteomic and bioinformatic investigations. Through third-generation RNA sequencing, full-length transcripts were identified for 52 gliadin genes in the bread wheat cultivar Xiaoyan 81. Of them, 42 were active and predicted to encode 25 a-, 11 ?-, one d- and five ?-gliadins. Comparative proteomic analysis between Xiaoyan 81 and six newly-developed mutants each lacking one Gli locus indicated the accumulation of 38 gliadins in the mature grains. A novel group of a-gliadins (the CSTT group) was recognized to contain very few or no CD epitopes. The d-gliadins identified here or previously did not carry CD epitopes. Finally, the mutant lacking Gli-D2 showed significant reductions in the most celiac-toxic a-gliadins and derivative CD epitopes. The insights and resources generated here should aid further studies on gliadin functions in CD and the breeding of healthier wheat.


September 22, 2019  |  

Dynamic evolution of a-gliadin prolamin gene family in homeologous genomes of hexaploid wheat.

Wheat Gli-2 loci encode complex groups of a-gliadin prolamins that are important for breadmaking, but also major triggers of celiac disease (CD). Elucidation of a-gliadin evolution provides knowledge to produce wheat with better end-use properties and reduced immunogenic potential. The Gli-2 loci contain a large number of tandemly duplicated genes and highly repetitive DNA, making sequence assembly of their genomic regions challenging. Here, we constructed high-quality sequences spanning the three wheat homeologous a-gliadin loci by aligning PacBio-based sequence contigs with BioNano genome maps. A total of 47 a-gliadin genes were identified with only 26 encoding intact full-length protein products. Analyses of a-gliadin loci and phylogenetic tree reconstruction indicate significant duplications of a-gliadin genes in the last ~2.5 million years after the divergence of the A, B and D genomes, supporting its rapid lineage-independent expansion in different Triticeae genomes. We showed that dramatic divergence in expression of a-gliadin genes could not be attributed to sequence variations in the promoter regions. The study also provided insights into the evolution of CD epitopes and identified a single indel event in the hexaploid wheat D genome that likely resulted in the generation of the highly toxic 33-mer CD epitope.


September 22, 2019  |  

Optical and physical mapping with local finishing enables megabase-scale resolution of agronomically important regions in the wheat genome.

Numerous scaffold-level sequences for wheat are now being released and, in this context, we report on a strategy for improving the overall assembly to a level comparable to that of the human genome.Using chromosome 7A of wheat as a model, sequence-finished megabase-scale sections of this chromosome were established by combining a new independent assembly using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based physical map, BAC pool paired-end sequencing, chromosome-arm-specific mate-pair sequencing and Bionano optical mapping with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium RefSeq v1.0 sequence and its underlying raw data. The combined assembly results in 18 super-scaffolds across the chromosome. The value of finished genome regions is demonstrated for two approximately 2.5 Mb regions associated with yield and the grain quality phenotype of fructan carbohydrate grain levels. In addition, the 50 Mb centromere region analysis incorporates cytological data highlighting the importance of non-sequence data in the assembly of this complex genome region.Sufficient genome sequence information is shown to now be available for the wheat community to produce sequence-finished releases of each chromosome of the reference genome. The high-level completion identified that an array of seven fructosyl transferase genes underpins grain quality and that yield attributes are affected by five F-box-only-protein-ubiquitin ligase domain and four root-specific lipid transfer domain genes. The completed sequence also includes the centromere.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long read sequencing technology to solve complex genomic regions assembly in plants

Background: Numerous completed or on-going whole genome sequencing projects have highlighted the fact that obtaining a high quality genome sequence is necessary to address comparative genomics questions such as structural variations among genotypes and gain or loss of specific function. Despite the spectacular progress that has been made in sequencing technologies, obtaining accurate and reliable data is still a challenge, both at the whole genome scale and when targeting specific genomic regions. These problems are even more noticeable for complex plant genomes. Most plant genomes are known to be particularly challenging due to their size, high density of repetitive elements and various levels of ploidy. To overcome these problems, we have developed a strategy to reduce genome complexity by using the large insert BAC libraries combined with next generation sequencing technologies. Results: We compared two different technologies (Roche-454 and Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS II) to sequence pools of BAC clones in order to obtain the best quality sequence. We targeted nine BAC clones from different species (maize, wheat, strawberry, barley, sugarcane and sunflower) known to be complex in terms of sequence assembly. We sequenced the pools of the nine BAC clones with both technologies. We compared assembly results and highlighted differences due to the sequencing technologies used. Conclusions: We demonstrated that the long reads obtained with the PacBio RS II technology serve to obtain a better and more reliable assembly, notably by preventing errors due to duplicated or repetitive sequences in the same region.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii.

Aegilops tauschii is the diploid progenitor of the D genome of hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum, genomes AABBDD) and an important genetic resource for wheat. The large size and highly repetitive nature of the Ae. tauschii genome has until now precluded the development of a reference-quality genome sequence. Here we use an array of advanced technologies, including ordered-clone genome sequencing, whole-genome shotgun sequencing, and BioNano optical genome mapping, to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Ae. tauschii ssp. strangulata accession AL8/78, which is closely related to the wheat D genome. We show that compared to other sequenced plant genomes, including a much larger conifer genome, the Ae. tauschii genome contains unprecedented amounts of very similar repeated sequences. Our genome comparisons reveal that the Ae. tauschii genome has a greater number of dispersed duplicated genes than other sequenced genomes and its chromosomes have been structurally evolving an order of magnitude faster than those of other grass genomes. The decay of colinearity with other grass genomes correlates with recombination rates along chromosomes. We propose that the vast amounts of very similar repeated sequences cause frequent errors in recombination and lead to gene duplications and structural chromosome changes that drive fast genome evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

The first near-complete assembly of the hexaploid bread wheat genome, Triticum aestivum.

Common bread wheat, Triticum aestivum, has one of the most complex genomes known to science, with 6 copies of each chromosome, enormous numbers of near-identical sequences scattered throughout, and an overall haploid size of more than 15 billion bases. Multiple past attempts to assemble the genome have produced assemblies that were well short of the estimated genome size. Here we report the first near-complete assembly of T. aestivum, using deep sequencing coverage from a combination of short Illumina reads and very long Pacific Biosciences reads. The final assembly contains 15 344 693 583 bases and has a weighted average (N50) contig size of 232 659 bases. This represents by far the most complete and contiguous assembly of the wheat genome to date, providing a strong foundation for future genetic studies of this important food crop. We also report how we used the recently published genome of Aegilops tauschii, the diploid ancestor of the wheat D genome, to identify 4 179 762 575 bp of T. aestivum that correspond to its D genome components.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


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