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November 1, 2012

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to "phase 3 finished" status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes,…

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October 1, 2012

Analysis of a unique Clostridium botulinum strain from the Southern hemisphere producing a novel type E botulinum neurotoxin subtype.

Clostridium botulinum strains that produce botulinum neurotoxin type E (BoNT/E) are most commonly isolated from botulism cases, marine environments, and animals in regions of high latitude in the Northern hemisphere. A strain of C. botulinum type E (CDC66177) was isolated from soil in Chubut, Argentina. Previous studies showed that the amino acid sequences of BoNT/E produced by various strains differ by < 6% and that the type E neurotoxin gene cluster inserts into the rarA operon.Genetic and mass spectral analysis demonstrated that the BoNT/E produced by CDC66177 is a novel toxin subtype (E9). Toxin gene sequencing indicated that BoNT/E9 differed…

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October 1, 2012

Direct sequencing of small genomes on the Pacific Biosciences RS without library preparation.

We have developed a sequencing method on the Pacific Biosciences RS sequencer (the PacBio) for small DNA molecules that avoids the need for a standard library preparation. To date this approach has been applied toward sequencing single-stranded and double-stranded viral genomes, bacterial plasmids, plasmid vector models for DNA-modification analysis, and linear DNA fragments covering an entire bacterial genome. Using direct sequencing it is possible to generate sequence data from as little as 1 ng of DNA, offering a significant advantage over current protocols which typically require 400-500 ng of sheared DNA for the library preparation.

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July 1, 2012

Next generation sequencing technologies and the changing landscape of phage genomics.

The dawn of next generation sequencing technologies has opened up exciting possibilities for whole genome sequencing of a plethora of organisms. The 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing technologies, based on cloning-free, massively parallel sequencing, have enabled the generation of a deluge of genomic sequences of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic origin in the last seven years. However, whole genome sequencing of bacterial viruses has not kept pace with this revolution, despite the fact that their genomes are orders of magnitude smaller in size compared with bacteria and other organisms. Sequencing phage genomes poses several challenges; (1) obtaining pure phage genomic material,…

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July 1, 2012

Finished bacterial genomes from shotgun sequence data.

Exceptionally accurate genome reference sequences have proven to be of great value to microbial researchers. Thus, to date, about 1800 bacterial genome assemblies have been "finished" at great expense with the aid of manual laboratory and computational processes that typically iterate over a period of months or even years. By applying a new laboratory design and new assembly algorithm to 16 samples, we demonstrate that assemblies exceeding finished quality can be obtained from whole-genome shotgun data and automated computation. Cost and time requirements are thus dramatically reduced.

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July 1, 2012

Hybrid error correction and de novo assembly of single-molecule sequencing reads.

Single-molecule sequencing instruments can generate multikilobase sequences with the potential to greatly improve genome and transcriptome assembly. However, the error rates of single-molecule reads are high, which has limited their use thus far to resequencing bacteria. To address this limitation, we introduce a correction algorithm and assembly strategy that uses short, high-fidelity sequences to correct the error in single-molecule sequences. We demonstrate the utility of this approach on reads generated by a PacBio RS instrument from phage, prokaryotic and eukaryotic whole genomes, including the previously unsequenced genome of the parrot Melopsittacus undulatus, as well as for RNA-Seq reads of the…

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July 1, 2012

A hybrid approach for the automated finishing of bacterial genomes.

Advances in DNA sequencing technology have improved our ability to characterize most genomic diversity. However, accurate resolution of large structural events is challenging because of the short read lengths of second-generation technologies. Third-generation sequencing technologies, which can yield longer multikilobase reads, have the potential to address limitations associated with genome assembly. Here we combine sequencing data from second- and third-generation DNA sequencing technologies to assemble the two-chromosome genome of a recent Haitian cholera outbreak strain into two nearly finished contigs at >99.9% accuracy. Complex regions with clinically relevant structure were completely resolved. In separate control assemblies on experimental and simulated…

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June 16, 2012

Genome sequencing of endosymbiotic bacterial Streptomyces sp. from Antartic lichen using Single Molecule Real-time Sequencing (SMRT) technology.

Along with the advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques, it has become possible to sequence a microbial genome very quickly with high coverage. Recently, PacificBioscience developed single molecule real-time sequencing (SMRT) technology, 3rd generation sequencing platform, which provide much longer (average read length: 1.5Kb) reads without PCR amplification. We did de novo sequencing of Streptomyces sp. using Illumina GAIIx, Roche 454 and PacBio RS system and compared the data. The endosymbiotic bacteria Streptomyces sp. PAMC 26508 was isolated from Antarctic lichen Psoroma sp. that grows attached rocks on Barton Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica (62, 13'S, 58, 47'W). With 4…

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June 16, 2012

Genome sequencing of microbial genomes using Single Molecule Real-time sequencing (SMRT) technology.

In the last year, high-throughput sequencing technologies have progressed from proof-of-concept to production quality. Although each technology is able to produce vast quantities of sequence information, in every case the underlying chemistry limits reads to very short lengths. We present a examining de novo assembly comparison with bacterial genome assembly varying genome size (from 3.1Mb to 7.6Mb) and different G+C contents (from 43% to 71%), respectively. We analyzed Solexa reads, 454 reads and Pacbio RS reads from Streptomyces sp. (Genome size, 7.6 Mb; G+C content, 71%), Psychrobacter sp. (Genome size, 3.5 Mb; G+C content, 43%), Salinibacterium sp. (Genome size, 3.1…

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June 16, 2012

Comparative genomics of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145:H28 strains associated with the 2007 Belgium and 2010 US outbreaks.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an emerging pathogen. Recently there has been a global in the number of outbreaks caused by non-O157 STECs, typically involving six serogroups O26, O45, 0103, 0111, and 0145. STEC O145:H28 has been associated with severe human disease including hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and is demonstrated by the 2007 Belgian ice-cream-associated outbreak and 2010 US lettuce-associated outbreak, with over 10% of patients developing HUS in each. The goal of this work was to do comparative genomics of strains, clinical and environmental, to investigate genome diversity and virulence evolution of this important foodborne pathogen.

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June 1, 2012

Next-generation sequencing and large genome assemblies.

The next-generation sequencing (NGS) revolution has drastically reduced time and cost requirements for sequencing of large genomes, and also qualitatively changed the problem of assembly. This article reviews the state of the art in de novo genome assembly, paying particular attention to mammalian-sized genomes. The strengths and weaknesses of the main sequencing platforms are highlighted, leading to a discussion of assembly and the new challenges associated with NGS data. Current approaches to assembly are outlined and the various software packages available are introduced and compared. The question of whether quality assemblies can be produced using short-read NGS data alone, or…

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April 1, 2012

Capturing single cell genomes of active polysaccharide degraders: an unexpected contribution of Verrucomicrobia.

Microbial hydrolysis of polysaccharides is critical to ecosystem functioning and is of great interest in diverse biotechnological applications, such as biofuel production and bioremediation. Here we demonstrate the use of a new, efficient approach to recover genomes of active polysaccharide degraders from natural, complex microbial assemblages, using a combination of fluorescently labeled substrates, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and single cell genomics. We employed this approach to analyze freshwater and coastal bacterioplankton for degraders of laminarin and xylan, two of the most abundant storage and structural polysaccharides in nature. Our results suggest that a few phylotypes of Verrucomicrobia make a considerable contribution…

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February 21, 2012

Genomic epidemiology of the Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreaks in Europe, 2011.

The degree to which molecular epidemiology reveals information about the sources and transmission patterns of an outbreak depends on the resolution of the technology used and the samples studied. Isolates of Escherichia coli O104:H4 from the outbreak centered in Germany in May-July 2011, and the much smaller outbreak in southwest France in June 2011, were indistinguishable by standard tests. We report a molecular epidemiological analysis using multiplatform whole-genome sequencing and analysis of multiple isolates from the German and French outbreaks. Isolates from the German outbreak showed remarkably little diversity, with only two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found in isolates from…

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