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Sunday, October 25, 2020

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Identification and characterization of informative genetic structural variants for neurodegenerative diseases

Michael Lutz, from the Duke University Medical Center, discussed a recently published software tool that can now be used in a pipeline with SMRT Sequencing data to find structural variant biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Lewy body dementia. His team is particularly interested in short sequence repeats and short tandem repeats, which have already been implicated in neurodegenerative disease.

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Characterization of a large, human-specific tandem repeat array associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

In this ASHG workshop presentation, Janet Song of Stanford School of Medicine shared research on resolving a tandem repeat array implicated in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These psychiatric diseases share a number of genomic risk variants, she noted, but scientists continue to search for a specific causal variant in the CACNA1C gene suggested by previous genome-wide association studies. SMRT Sequencing of this region in 16 individuals identified a series of 30-mer repeats, containing a total of about 50 variants. Analysis showed that 10 variants were linked to protective or risk haplotypes. Song aims to study the function of these variants…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Long-read sequencing for rare human genetic diseases.

During the past decade, the search for pathogenic mutations in rare human genetic diseases has involved huge efforts to sequence coding regions, or the entire genome, using massively parallel short-read sequencers. However, the approximate current diagnostic rate is

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

An ADAMTS3 missense variant is associated with Norwich Terrier upper airway syndrome.

In flat-faced dog breeds, air resistance caused by skull conformation is believed to be a major determinant of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). The clinical presentation of BOAS is heterogeneous, suggesting determinants independent of skull conformation contribute to airway disease. Norwich Terriers, a mesocephalic breed, are predisposed to Upper Airway Syndrome (UAS), a disease whose pathological features overlap with BOAS. Our health screening clinic examined and scored the airways of 401 Norwich terriers by laryngoscopy. Genome-wide association analyses of UAS-related pathologies revealed a genetic association on canine chromosome 13 (rs9043975, p = 7.79×10-16). Whole genome resequencing was used to identify…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Targeted Long-Read RNA Sequencing Demonstrates Transcriptional Diversity Driven by Splice-Site Variation in MYBPC3.

To date, clinical sequencing has focused on genomic DNA using targeted panels and exome sequencing. Sequencing of a large hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) cohort revealed that positive identification of a disease-associated variant was returned in only 32% of patients, with an additional 15% receiving inconclusive results. When genome sequencing fails to reveal causative variants, the transcriptome may provide additional diagnostic clarity. A recent study examining patients with genetically undiagnosed muscle disorders found that RNA sequencing, when used as a complement to exome and whole genome sequencing, had an overall diagnosis rate of 35%.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A 12-kb structural variation in progressive myoclonic epilepsy was newly identified by long-read whole-genome sequencing.

We report a family with progressive myoclonic epilepsy who underwent whole-exome sequencing but was negative for pathogenic variants. Similar clinical courses of a devastating neurodegenerative phenotype of two affected siblings were highly suggestive of a genetic etiology, which indicates that the survey of genetic variation by whole-exome sequencing was not comprehensive. To investigate the presence of a variant that remained unrecognized by standard genetic testing, PacBio long-read sequencing was performed. Structural variant (SV) detection using low-coverage (6×) whole-genome sequencing called 17,165 SVs (7,216 deletions and 9,949 insertions). Our SV selection narrowed down potential candidates to only five SVs (two deletions…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genome assembly of a tropical maize inbred line provides insights into structural variation and crop improvement.

Maize is one of the most important crops globally, and it shows remarkable genetic diversity. Knowledge of this diversity could help in crop improvement; however, gold-standard genomes have been elucidated only for modern temperate varieties. Here, we present a high-quality reference genome (contig N50 of 15.78?megabases) of the maize small-kernel inbred line, which is derived from a tropical landrace. Using haplotype maps derived from B73, Mo17 and SK, we identified 80,614 polymorphic structural variants across 521 diverse lines. Approximately 22% of these variants could not be detected by traditional single-nucleotide-polymorphism-based approaches, and some of them could affect gene expression and…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Access full spectrum of polymorphisms in HLA class I & II genes, without imputation for disease association and evolutionary research.

MHC class I and II genes are critically monitored by high-resolution sequencing for organ transplant decisions due to their role in GVHD. Their direct or linkage-based causal association, have increased their prominence as targets for drug sensitivity, autoimmune, cancer and infectious disease research. Monitoring HLA genes can however be tricky due to their highly polymorphic nature. Allele-level resolution is thus strongly preferred. However, most studies were historically focused on peptide binding domains of the HLA genes, due to technological challenges. As a result knowledge about the functional role of polymorphisms outside of exons 2 and 3 of HLA genes was…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Meeting report: 31st International Mammalian Genome Conference, Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications.

High on the Heidelberg hills, inside the Advanced Training Centre of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus with its unique double-helix staircase, scientists gathered for the EMBL conference “Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications,” organized in cooperation with the International Mammalian Genome Society (IMGS) and the Mouse Molecular Genetics (MMG) group. The conference attracted 205 participants from 30 countries, representing 6 of the 7 continents-all except Antarctica. It was a richly diverse group of geneticists, clinicians, and bioinformaticians, with presentations by established and junior investigators, including many trainees. From the 24th-27th of October 2017, they…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

PHACTR1 splicing isoforms and eQTLs in atherosclerosis-relevant human cells.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variant (rs9349379) at the phosphatase and actin regulator 1 (PHACTR1) locus that is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). The same variant is also an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) for PHACTR1 in human coronary arteries (hCA). Here, we sought to characterize PHACTR1 splicing pattern in atherosclerosis-relevant human cells. We also explored how rs9349379 modulates the expression of the different PHACTR1 splicing isoforms.We combined rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) with next-generation long-read DNA sequencing to discover all PHACTR1 transcripts in many human tissues and cell types. We measured PHACTR1 transcripts by qPCR…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A reference genome of the Chinese hamster based on a hybrid assembly strategy.

Accurate and complete genome sequences are essential in biotechnology to facilitate genome-based cell engineering efforts. The current genome assemblies for Cricetulus griseus, the Chinese hamster, are fragmented and replete with gap sequences and misassemblies, consistent with most short-read-based assemblies. Here, we completely resequenced C. griseus using single molecule real time sequencing and merged this with Illumina-based assemblies. This generated a more contiguous and complete genome assembly than either technology alone, reducing the number of scaffolds by >28-fold, with 90% of the sequence in the 122 longest scaffolds. Most genes are now found in single scaffolds, including up- and downstream regulatory…

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