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Sunday, October 25, 2020

PAG Conference: Wild rice genome sequences explain the evolution and domestication of Japonica and Indica rice

Robert Henry, Professor of Innovation in Agriculture and Director of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at the University of Queensland, Australia, discusses how whole genome analysis of Australian wild rice is being used to better understand rice domestication, with the goal of making a diverse genetic resource available for increased rice food security worldwide. The wild “A genome” species represent an effective gene pool for rice. SMRT Sequencing and assembly of two taxon of wild Australian rice has allowed analysis of the relationships with this group. Domesticated rice (Oryza sativa ssp. japonica) nuclear genome shows close relationship…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

AGBT Conference: The first African reference genome assembly

Karyn Meltz Steinberg presents the first high quality African reference genome assembly of the Yoruban individual, NA19240, produced from SMRT Sequencing data. She said PacBio sequencing offers significant improvement over short-read sequence data for high-quality assemblies.

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

ASHG Virtual Poster: The MHC Diversity in Africa Project (MDAP) pilot – 125 African high resolution HLA types from 5 populations

In this ASHG 2016 poster video, Martin Pollard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge describes an ambitious project to better represent natural variation in the complex MHC region by sequencing the locus in thousands of people from various populations in Africa. A pilot project in five populations has already revealed a lot of diversity in the region, which is important for human disease, vaccine response, and organ transplantation. Pollard says SMRT Sequencing is the only technology that can deliver the full-length haplotypes necessary to identify complete variation in this highly polymorphic complex. Plus: plans to…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

i5K Webinar: High-quality de novo insect genome assemblies using PacBio sequencing

PacBio Sequencing is characterized by very long sequence reads (averaging > 10,000 bases), lack of GC-bias, and high consensus accuracy. These features have allowed the method to provide a new gold standard in de novo genome assemblies, producing highly contiguous (contig N50 > 1 Mb) and accurate (> QV 50) genome assemblies. We will briefly describe the technology and then highlight the full workflow, from sample preparation through sequencing to data analysis, on examples of insect genome assemblies, and illustrate the difference these high-quality genomes represent with regard to biological insights, compared to fragmented draft assemblies generated by short-read sequencing.

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Podcast: Reference genome making major strides in ethnic diversity, says Valerie Schneider, NCBI

Valerie Schneider of the National Center for Biotechnology Information discuss how the Genome Reference Consortium (GRC) is bringing more ethnic diversity to the latest human reference assembly (GRCh38) by adding patches and alternate loci scaffolds. Scientists working with population graphs are among the early adopters of these new alternate loci scaffolds. She also discusses work underway at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University to generate a set of high-quality, de novo whole genomes from a wide variety of populations. The new ethnic genomes “are also intended to stand on their own as complements to the reference so users can…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Podcast: We’re over halfway there: Baylor’s Richard Gibbs on clinical genetics

In this podcast, Gibbs shares his perspective on the complementary roles genomics and genetics plays in driving our understanding of human biology. Richard says that the Human genome project was actually a departure from had been typical in the field of human genetics. He notes, “there really was this departure between human genetics and genomics for a decade and a half or more, really because of the demands of doing the genome project there was too much to do to stop and think about some of these more fundamental problems in genetics.” Gibbs observes that we have now entered a…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Webinar: A paradigm shift in HLA sequencing: from exons to high-resolution allele-level HLA yyping

Human MHC class I genes HLA-A, -B, -C, and class II genes HLA -DR, -DQ, and -DP play a critical role in the immune system as primary factors responsible for organ transplant rejection. Additionally, the HLA genes are important targets for clinical and drug sensitivity research because of their direct or linkage-based association with several diseases, including cancer, and autoimmune diseases. HLA genes are highly polymorphic, and their diversity originates from exonic combinations as well as recombination events. With full-length gene sequencing, a significant increase of new alleles in the HLA database is expected, stressing the need for high-resolution sequencing.…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

AGBT Presentation: Generating high quality human reference assemblies with PacBio sequencing

Tina Graves-Lindsay from the McDonnell Genome Institute reports at AGBT 2020 on how her team is using PacBio sequencing to produce reference-grade human genome assemblies. With highly accurate HiFi reads, no error correction step is needed during the sequencing and analysis process, and they can produce reference-grade assemblies with half the sequence coverage needed before. They are now generating diploid assemblies and will be contributing to the human pangenome reference project.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Insect genomes: progress and challenges.

In the wake of constant improvements in sequencing technologies, numerous insect genomes have been sequenced. Currently, 1219 insect genome-sequencing projects have been registered with the National Center for Biotechnology Information, including 401 that have genome assemblies and 155 with an official gene set of annotated protein-coding genes. Comparative genomics analysis showed that the expansion or contraction of gene families was associated with well-studied physiological traits such as immune system, metabolic detoxification, parasitism and polyphagy in insects. Here, we summarize the progress of insect genome sequencing, with an emphasis on how this impacts research on pest control. We begin with a…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Lateral transfers of large DNA fragments spread functional genes among grasses.

A fundamental tenet of multicellular eukaryotic evolution is that vertical inheritance is paramount, with natural selection acting on genetic variants transferred from parents to offspring. This lineal process means that an organism’s adaptive potential can be restricted by its evolutionary history, the amount of standing genetic variation, and its mutation rate. Lateral gene transfer (LGT) theoretically provides a mechanism to bypass many of these limitations, but the evolutionary importance and frequency of this process in multicellular eukaryotes, such as plants, remains debated. We address this issue by assembling a chromosome-level genome for the grass Alloteropsis semialata, a species surmised to…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

High satellite repeat turnover in great apes studied with short- and long-read technologies.

Satellite repeats are a structural component of centromeres and telomeres, and in some instances their divergence is known to drive speciation. Due to their highly repetitive nature, satellite sequences have been understudied and underrepresented in genome assemblies. To investigate their turnover in great apes, we studied satellite repeats of unit sizes up to 50?bp in human, chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, using unassembled short and long sequencing reads. The density of satellite repeats, as identified from accurate short reads (Illumina), varied greatly among great ape genomes. These were dominated by a handful of abundant repeated motifs, frequently…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Schizophrenia risk variants influence multiple classes of transcripts of sorting nexin 19 (SNX19).

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many genomic loci associated with risk for schizophrenia, but unambiguous identification of the relationship between disease-associated variants and specific genes, and in particular their effect on risk conferring transcripts, has proven difficult. To better understand the specific molecular mechanism(s) at the schizophrenia locus in 11q25, we undertook cis expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL) mapping for this 2 megabase genomic region using postmortem human brain samples. To comprehensively assess the effects of genetic risk upon local expression, we evaluated multiple transcript features: genes, exons, and exon-exon junctions in multiple brain regions-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), hippocampus,…

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