April 21, 2020  |  

A siphonous macroalgal genome suggests convergent functions of homeobox genes in algae and land plants.

Genome evolution and development of unicellular, multinucleate macroalgae (siphonous algae) are poorly known, although various multicellular organisms have been studied extensively. To understand macroalgal developmental evolution, we assembled the ~26?Mb genome of a siphonous green alga, Caulerpa lentillifera, with high contiguity, containing 9,311 protein-coding genes. Molecular phylogeny using 107 nuclear genes indicates that the diversification of the class Ulvophyceae, including C. lentillifera, occurred before the split of the Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae. Compared with other green algae, the TALE superclass of homeobox genes, which expanded in land plants, shows a series of lineage-specific duplications in this siphonous macroalga. Plant hormone signalling components were also expanded in a lineage-specific manner. Expanded transport regulators, which show spatially different expression, suggest that the structural patterning strategy of a multinucleate cell depends on diversification of nuclear pore proteins. These results not only imply functional convergence of duplicated genes among green plants, but also provide insight into evolutionary roots of green plants. Based on the present results, we propose cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the structural differentiation in the siphonous alga. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


April 21, 2020  |  

Plastid genomes from diverse glaucophyte genera reveal a largely conserved gene content and limited architectural diversity.

Plastid genome (ptDNA) data of Glaucophyta have been limited for many years to the genus Cyanophora. Here, we sequenced the ptDNAs of Gloeochaete wittrockiana, Cyanoptyche gloeocystis, Glaucocystis incrassata, and Glaucocystis sp. BBH. The reported sequences are the first genome-scale plastid data available for these three poorly studied glaucophyte genera. Although the Glaucophyta plastids appear morphologically “ancestral,” they actually bear derived genomes not radically different from those of red algae or viridiplants. The glaucophyte plastid coding capacity is highly conserved (112 genes shared) and the architecture of the plastid chromosomes is relatively simple. Phylogenomic analyses recovered Glaucophyta as the earliest diverging Archaeplastida lineage, but the position of viridiplants as the first branching group was not rejected by the approximately unbiased test. Pairwise distances estimated from 19 different plastid genes revealed that the highest sequence divergence between glaucophyte genera is frequently higher than distances between species of different classes within red algae or viridiplants. Gene synteny and sequence similarity in the ptDNAs of the two Glaucocystis species analyzed is conserved. However, the ptDNA of Gla. incrassata contains a 7.9-kb insertion not detected in Glaucocystis sp. BBH. The insertion contains ten open reading frames that include four coding regions similar to bacterial serine recombinases (two open reading frames), DNA primases, and peptidoglycan aminohydrolases. These three enzymes, often encoded in bacterial plasmids and bacteriophage genomes, are known to participate in the mobilization and replication of DNA mobile elements. It is therefore plausible that the insertion in Gla. incrassata ptDNA is derived from a DNA mobile element.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete mitochondrial genome of a Chinese oil tree yellowhorn, Xanthoceras sorbifolium (Sapindales, Sapindaceae)

Xanthoceras sorbifolium is an important woody oil seed tree in North China. In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome of X. sorbifolium was sequenced using Illumina Hiseq and PacBio sequencing technique. The mitogenome is 575,633bp in length and the GC content is 45.71%. The genome con- sists of 42 protein-coding genes, 4 ribosomal-RNA genes, and 24 transfer-RNA genes. Phylogenetic ana- lysis based on protein-coding genes showed that X. sorbifolium was close with the species in Bombacaceae and Malvaceae family.


April 21, 2020  |  

TSD: A Computational Tool To Study the Complex Structural Variants Using PacBio Targeted Sequencing Data.

PacBio sequencing is a powerful approach to study DNA or RNA sequences in a longer scope. It is especially useful in exploring the complex structural variants generated by random integration or multiple rearrangement of endogenous or exogenous sequences. Here, we present a tool, TSD, for complex structural variant discovery using PacBio targeted sequencing data. It allows researchers to identify and visualize the genomic structures of targeted sequences by unlimited splitting, alignment and assembly of long PacBio reads. Application to the sequencing data derived from an HBV integrated human cell line(PLC/PRF/5) indicated that TSD could recover the full profile of HBV integration events, especially for the regions with the complex human-HBV genome integrations and multiple HBV rearrangements. Compared to other long read analysis tools, TSD showed a better performance for detecting complex genomic structural variants. TSD is publicly available at: https://github.com/menggf/tsd. Copyright © 2019 Meng et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chloroplast genome of Dalbergia cochinchinensis (Fabaceae), a rare and Endangered rosewood species in Southeast Asia

Dalbergia cochinchinensis is an tree species in Southeast Asia, its wood and wood products are incred- ibly valuable and are also of important medicinal value. In this study, its chloroplast genome was char- acterized using next generation Illumina pair-end and Pacbio sequencing dataset. The whole genome was 156,576bp in length and contains a pair of 25,682bp inverted repeat regions, which were sepa- rated by a large single copy region and a small single copy region of 85,886 and 19,326bp in length, respectively. The cp genome contained 111 genes, including 77 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNAs and 4 rRNAs. A neighbor-joining phylogenetic analysis suggested D. cochinchinensis, which belonged to Dalbergieae, Fabaceae.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the complete chloroplast genome sequence of Costus viridis (Costaceae)

The first complete chloroplast genome of Costus viridis (Costaceae) was reported in the current study. The C. viridis genome was 168,966bp in length and comprised a pair of inverted repeat (IR) regions of 29,166bp each, a large single-copy (LSC) region of 92,189bp, and a small single-copy (SSC) region of 18,445bp. It encoded 133 genes, including 87 protein-coding genes (79 PCG species), 38 tRNA genes (28 tRNA species), and eight rRNA genes (four rRNA species). The overall AT content was 63.75%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that C. viridis was closely related to species Costus osae within the genus Costus in family Costaceae.


April 21, 2020  |  

Insights into the evolution and drug susceptibility of Babesia duncani from the sequence of its mitochondrial and apicoplast genomes.

Babesia microti and Babesia duncani are the main causative agents of human babesiosis in the United States. While significant knowledge about B. microti has been gained over the past few years, nothing is known about B. duncani biology, pathogenesis, mode of transmission or sensitivity to currently recommended therapies. Studies in immunocompetent wild type mice and hamsters have shown that unlike B. microti, infection with B. duncani results in severe pathology and ultimately death. The parasite factors involved in B. duncani virulence remain unknown. Here we report the first known completed sequence and annotation of the apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of B. duncani. We found that the apicoplast genome of this parasite consists of a 34?kb monocistronic circular molecule encoding functions that are important for apicoplast gene transcription as well as translation and maturation of the organelle’s proteins. The mitochondrial genome of B. duncani consists of a 5.9?kb monocistronic linear molecule with two inverted repeats of 48?bp at both ends. Using the conserved cytochrome b (Cytb) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (coxI) proteins encoded by the mitochondrial genome, phylogenetic analysis revealed that B. duncani defines a new lineage among apicomplexan parasites distinct from B. microti, Babesia bovis, Theileria spp. and Plasmodium spp. Annotation of the apicoplast and mitochondrial genomes of B. duncani identified targets for development of effective therapies. Our studies set the stage for evaluation of the efficacy of these drugs alone or in combination against B. duncani in culture as well as in animal models.Copyright © 2018 Australian Society for Parasitology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Wild relatives of maize

Crop domestication changed the course of human evolution, and domestication of maize (Zea mays L. subspecies mays), today the world’s most important crop, enabled civilizations to flourish and has played a major role in shaping the world we know today. Archaeological and ethnobotanical research help us understand the development of the cultures and the movements of the peoples who carried maize to new areas where it continued to adapt. Ancient remains of maize cobs and kernels have been found in the place of domestication, the Balsas River Valley (~9,000 years before present era), and the cultivation center, the Tehuacan Valley (~5,000 years before present era), and have been used to study the process of domestication. Paleogenomic data showed that some of the genes controlling the stem and inflorescence architecture were comparable to modern maize, while other genes controlling ear shattering and starch biosynthesis retain high levels of variability, similar to those found in the wild relative teosinte. These results indicate that the domestication process was both gradual and complex, where different genetic loci were selected at different points in time, and that the transformation of teosinte to maize was completed in the last 5,000 years. Mesoamerican native cultures domesticated teosinte and developed maize from a 6 cm long, popping-kernel ear to what we now recognize as modern maize with its wide variety in ear size, kernel texture, color, size, and adequacy for diverse uses and also invented nixtamalization, a process key to maximizing its nutrition. Used directly for human and animal consumption, processed food products, bioenergy, and many cultural applications, it is now grown on six of the world’s seven continents. The study of its evolution and domestication from the wild grass teosinte helps us understand the nature of genetic diversity of maize and its wild relatives and gene expression. Genetic barriers to direct use of teosinte or Tripsacum in maize breeding have challenged our ability to identify valuable genes and traits, let alone incorporate them into elite, modern varieties. Genomic information and newer genetic technologies will facilitate the use of wild relatives in crop improvement; hence it is more important than ever to ensure their conservation and availability, fundamental to future food security. In situ conservation efforts dedicated to preserving remnant populations of wild relatives in Mexico are key to safeguarding the genetic diversity of maize and its genepool, as well as enabling these species to continue to adapt to dynamic climate and environmental changes. Genebank ex situ efforts are crucial to securely maintain collected wild relative resources and to provide them for gene discovery and other research efforts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome analysis and genetic transformation of a water surface-floating microalga Chlorococcum sp. FFG039.

Microalgal harvesting and dewatering are the main bottlenecks that need to be overcome to tap the potential of microalgae for production of valuable compounds. Water surface-floating microalgae form robust biofilms, float on the water surface along with gas bubbles entrapped under the biofilms, and have great potential to overcome these bottlenecks. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in the water surface-floating phenotype. In the present study, we analysed the genome sequence of a water surface-floating microalga Chlorococcum sp. FFG039, with a next generation sequencing technique to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Comparative genomics study with Chlorococcum sp. FFG039 and other non-floating green microalgae revealed some of the unique gene families belonging to this floating microalga, which may be involved in biofilm formation. Furthermore, genetic transformation of this microalga was achieved with an electroporation method. The genome information and transformation techniques presented in this study will be useful to obtain molecular insights into the water surface-floating phenotype of Chlorococcum sp. FFG039.


April 21, 2020  |  

Mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes provide insights into the evolutionary origins of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.).

Quinoa has recently gained international attention because of its nutritious seeds, prompting the expansion of its cultivation into new areas in which it was not originally selected as a crop. Improving quinoa production in these areas will benefit from the introduction of advantageous traits from free-living relatives that are native to these, or similar, environments. As part of an ongoing effort to characterize the primary and secondary germplasm pools for quinoa, we report the complete mitochondrial and chloroplast genome sequences of quinoa accession PI 614886 and the identification of sequence variants in additional accessions from quinoa and related species. This is the first reported mitochondrial genome assembly in the genus Chenopodium. Inference of phylogenetic relationships among Chenopodium species based on mitochondrial and chloroplast variants supports the hypotheses that 1) the A-genome ancestor was the cytoplasmic donor in the original tetraploidization event, and 2) highland and coastal quinoas were independently domesticated.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses of Populus section Leuce using complete chloroplast genome sequences

Species of Populus section Leuce are distributed throughout most parts of the Northern Hemisphere and have important economic and ecological significance. However, due to frequent hybridization within Leuce, the phylogenetic relationship between species has not been clarified. The chloroplast (cp) genome is characterized by maternal inheritance and relatively conservative mutation rates; thus, it is a powerful tool for building phylogenetic trees. In this study, we used the PacBio SEQUEL software to determine that the cp genome of Populus tomentosa has a length of 156,558 bp including a long single-copy region (84,717 bp), a small single-copy region (16,555 bp), and a pair of inverted repeat regions (27,643 bp). The cp genome contains 131 unique genes, including 37 transfer RNAs, 8 ribosomal RNAs, and 86 protein-coding genes. We compared the cp genomes of seven species of section Leuce and identified five cp DNA markers with >?1% variable sites. Phylogenetic analyses revealed two evolutionary branches for section Leuce. The species with the closest relationship with P. tomenstosa was P. adenopoda, followed by P. alba. These cp genome data will help to determine the cp evolution of section Leuce and further elucidate the origin of P. tomentosa.


October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide transcriptome profiling of the medicinal plant Zanthoxylum planispinum using a single-molecule direct RNA sequencing approach.

High-throughput RNA sequencing has revolutionized transcriptome-based studies of candidate genes, key pathways and gene regulation in non-model organisms. We analyzed full-length cDNA sequences in Zanthoxylum planispinum (Z. planispinum), a medicinal herb in major parts of East Asia. The full-length mRNA derived from tissues of leaf, early fruit and maturing fruit stage were sequenced using PacBio RSII platform to identify isoform transcriptome. We obtained 51,402 unigenes, with average 1781?bp per gene in 82.473?Mb gene lengths. Among 51,402, 3963 unigenes showed variety of isoform. By selection of one representative gene among each of the various isoforms, we finalized 46,306 unique gene set for this herb. We identified 76 cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and related isoforms that are of the wide diversity in the molecular function and biological process. These transcriptome data of Z. planispinum will provide a good resource to study metabolic engineering for the production of valuable medicinal drugs and phytochemicals. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing of the coffee bean transcriptome reveals the diversity of full-length transcripts.

Polyploidization contributes to the complexity of gene expression, resulting in numerous related but different transcripts. This study explored the transcriptome diversity and complexity of the tetraploid Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) bean. Long-read sequencing (LRS) by Pacbio Isoform sequencing (Iso-seq) was used to obtain full-length transcripts without the difficulty and uncertainty of assembly required for reads from short-read technologies. The tetraploid transcriptome was annotated and compared with data from the sub-genome progenitors. Caffeine and sucrose genes were targeted for case analysis. An isoform-level tetraploid coffee bean reference transcriptome with 95 995 distinct transcripts (average 3236 bp) was obtained. A total of 88 715 sequences (92.42%) were annotated with BLASTx against NCBI non-redundant plant proteins, including 34 719 high-quality annotations. Further BLASTn analysis against NCBI non-redundant nucleotide sequences, Coffea canephora coding sequences with UTR, C. arabica ESTs, and Rfam resulted in 1213 sequences without hits, were potential novel genes in coffee. Longer UTRs were captured, especially in the 5?UTRs, facilitating the identification of upstream open reading frames. The LRS also revealed more and longer transcript variants in key caffeine and sucrose metabolism genes from this polyploid genome. Long sequences (>10 kilo base) were poorly annotated. LRS technology shows the limitation of previous studies. It provides an important tool to produce a reference transcriptome including more of the diversity of full-length transcripts to help understand the biology and support the genetic improvement of polyploid species such as coffee.© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluating the mobility potential of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes without metagenomics.

Antibiotic resistance genes are ubiquitous in the environment. However, only a fraction of them are mobile and able to spread to pathogenic bacteria. Until now, studying the mobility of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes has been challenging due to inadequate sensitivity and difficulties in contig assembly of metagenome based methods. We developed a new cost and labor efficient method based on Inverse PCR and long read sequencing for studying mobility potential of environmental resistance genes. We applied Inverse PCR on sediment samples and identified 79 different MGE clusters associated with the studied resistance genes, including novel mobile genetic elements, co-selected resistance genes and a new putative antibiotic resistance gene. The results show that the method can be used in antibiotic resistance early warning systems. In comparison to metagenomics, Inverse PCR was markedly more sensitive and provided more data on resistance gene mobility and co-selected resistances.


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