June 1, 2021  |  

Genome assembly strategies of the recent polyploid, Coffea arabica.

Arabica coffee, revered for its taste and aroma, has a complex genome. It is an allotetraploid (2n=4x=44) with a genome size of approximately 1.3 Gb, derived from the recent (< 0.6 Mya) hybridization of two diploid progenitors (2n=2x=22), C. canephora (710 Mb) and C. eugenioides (670 Mb). Both parental species diverged recently (< 4.2Mya) and their genomes are highly homologous. To facilitate assembly, a dihaploid plant was chosen for sequencing. Initial genome assembly attempts with short read data produced an assembly covering 1,031 Mb of the C. arabica genome with a contig L50 of 9kb. By implementation of long read PacBio at greater than 50x coverage and cutting-edge PacBio software, a de novo PacBio-only genome assembly was constructed that covers 1,042 Mb of the genome with an L50 of 267 kb. The two assemblies were assessed and compared to determine gene content, chimeric regions, and the ability to separate the parental genomes. A genetic map that contains 600 SSRs is being used for anchoring the contigs and improve the sub-genome differentiation together with the search of sub-genome specific SNPs. PacBio transcriptome sequencing is currently being added to finalize gene annotation of the polished assembly. The finished genome assembly will be used to guide re-sequencing assemblies of parental genomes (C. canephora and C. eugenioides) as well as a template for GBS analysis and whole genome re-sequencing of a set of C. arabica accessions representative of the species diversity. The obtained data will provide powerful genomic tools to enable more efficient coffee breeding strategies for this crop, which is highly susceptible to climate change and is the main source of income for millions of small farmers in producing countries.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Chinese chestnut genome: a reference for species restoration

Forest tree species are increasingly subject to severe mortalities from exotic pests, diseases, and invasive organisms, accelerated by climate change. Forest health issues are threatening multiple species and ecosystem sustainability globally. While sources of resistance may be available in related species, or among surviving trees, introgression of resistance genes into threatened tree species in reasonable time frames requires genome-wide breeding tools. Asian species of chestnut (Castanea spp.) are being employed as donors of disease resistance genes to restore native chestnut species in North America and Europe. To aid in the restoration of threatened chestnut species, we present the assembly of a reference genome with chromosome-scale sequences for Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), the disease-resistance donor for American chestnut restoration. We also demonstrate the value of the genome as a platform for research and species restoration, including new insights into the evolution of blight resistance in Asian chestnut species, the locations in the genome of ecologically important signatures of selection differentiating American chestnut from Chinese chestnut, the identification of candidate genes for disease resistance, and preliminary comparisons of genome organization with related species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Strengths and potential pitfalls of hay-transfer for ecological restoration revealed by RAD-seq analysis in floodplain Arabis species

Achieving high intraspecific genetic diversity is a critical goal in ecological restoration as it increases the adaptive potential and long-term resilience of populations. Thus, we investigated genetic diversity within and between pristine sites in a fossil floodplain and compared it to sites restored by hay-transfer between 1997 and 2014. RAD-seq genotyping revealed that the stenoecious flood-plain species Arabis nemorensis is co-occurring with individuals that, based on ploidy, ITS-sequencing and morphology, probably belong to the close relative Arabis sagittata, which has a documented preference for dry calcareous grasslands but has not been reported in floodplain meadows. We show that hay-transfer maintains genetic diversity for both species. Additionally, in A. sagittata, transfer from multiple genetically isolated pristine sites resulted in restored sites with increased diversity and admixed local genotypes. In A. nemorensis, transfer did not create novel admixture dynamics because genetic diversity between pristine sites was less differentiated. Thus, the effects of hay-transfer on genetic diversity also depend on the genetic makeup of the donor communities of each species, especially when local material is mixed. Our results demonstrate the efficiency of hay-transfer for habitat restoration and emphasize the importance of pre-restoration characterization of micro-geographic patterns of intraspecific diversity of the community to guarantee that restoration practices reach their goal, i.e. maximize the adaptive potential of the entire restored plant community. Overlooking these patterns may alter the balance between species in the community. Additionally, our comparison of summary statistics obtained from de novo and reference-based RAD-seq pipelines shows that the genomic impact of restoration can be reliably monitored in species lacking prior genomic knowledge.


April 21, 2020  |  

Morphological and genomic characterisation of the hybrid schistosome infecting humans in Europe reveals a complex admixture between Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma bovis parasites

Schistosomes cause schistosomiasis, the worldtextquoterights second most important parasitic disease after malaria. A peculiar feature of schistosomes is their ability to produce viable and fertile hybrids. Originally only present in the tropics, schistosomiasis is now also endemic in Europe. Based on two genetic markers the European species had been identified as a hybrid between the ruminant-infective Schistosoma bovis and the human-infective Schistosoma haematobium.Here we describe for the first time the genomic composition of the European schistosome hybrid (77% of S. haematobium and 23% of S. bovis origins), its morphometric parameters and its compatibility with the European vector snail and intermediate host Compatibility is a key parameter for the parasites life cycle progression. We also show that egg morphology (a classical diagnostic parameter) does not allow for differential diagnosis while genetic tests do so. Additionally, we performed genome assembly improvement and annotation of S. bovis, the parental species for which no satisfactory genome assembly was available.For the first time since the discovery of hybrid schistosomes, these results reveal at the whole genomic level a complex admixture of parental genomes highlighting (i) the high permeability of schistosomes to other speciestextquoteright alleles, and (ii) the importance of hybrid formation for pushing species boundaries not only conceptionally but also geographically.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Leptospira kmetyi LS 001/16, Isolated from a Soil Sample Associated with a Leptospirosis Patient in Kelantan, Malaysia.

The Gram-negative pathogenic spirochetal bacteria Leptospira spp. cause leptospirosis in humans and livestock animals. Leptospira kmetyi strain LS 001/16 was isolated from a soil sample associated with a leptospirosis patient in Kelantan, which is among the states in Malaysia with a high reported number of disease cases. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of Leptospira kmetyi strain LS 001/16. Copyright © 2019 Yusof et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Finding Nemo’s Genes: A chromosome-scale reference assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula.

The iconic orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, is a model organism for studying the ecology and evolution of reef fishes, including patterns of population connectivity, sex change, social organization, habitat selection and adaptation to climate change. Notably, the orange clownfish is the only reef fish for which a complete larval dispersal kernel has been established and was the first fish species for which it was demonstrated that antipredator responses of reef fishes could be impaired by ocean acidification. Despite its importance, molecular resources for this species remain scarce and until now it lacked a reference genome assembly. Here, we present a de novo chromosome-scale assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula. We utilized single-molecule real-time sequencing technology from Pacific Biosciences to produce an initial polished assembly comprised of 1,414 contigs, with a contig N50 length of 1.86 Mb. Using Hi-C-based chromatin contact maps, 98% of the genome assembly were placed into 24 chromosomes, resulting in a final assembly of 908.8 Mb in length with contig and scaffold N50s of 3.12 and 38.4 Mb, respectively. This makes it one of the most contiguous and complete fish genome assemblies currently available. The genome was annotated with 26,597 protein-coding genes and contains 96% of the core set of conserved actinopterygian orthologs. The availability of this reference genome assembly as a community resource will further strengthen the role of the orange clownfish as a model species for research on the ecology and evolution of reef fishes. © 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential of TLR-gene diversity in Czech indigenous cattle for resistance breeding as revealed by hybrid sequencing

A production herd of Czech Simmental cattle (Czech Red Pied, CRP), the conserved subpopulation of this breed, and the ancient local breed Czech Red cattle (CR) were screened for diversity in the antibacterial toll-like receptors (TLRs), which are members of the innate immune system. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons of TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR5, and TLR6 from pooled DNA samples were sequenced with PacBio technology, with 3–5×?coverage per gene per animal. To increase the reliability of variant detection, the gDNA pools were sequenced in parallel with the Illumina X-ten platform at low coverage (60× per gene). The diversity in conserved CRP and CR was similar to the diversity in conserved and modern CRP, representing 76.4?% and 70.9?% of its variants, respectively. Sixty-eight (54.4?%) polymorphisms in the five TLR genes were shared by the two breeds, whereas 38 (30.4?%) were specific to the production herd of CRP; 4 (3.2?%) were specific to the broad CRP population; 7 (5.6?%) were present in both conserved populations; 5 (4.0?%) were present solely for the conserved CRP; and 3 (2.4?%) were restricted to CR. Consequently, gene pool erosion related to intensive breeding did not occur in Czech Simmental cattle. Similarly, no considerable consequences were found from known bottlenecks in the history of Czech Red cattle. On the other hand, the distinctness of the conserved populations and their potential for resistance breeding were only moderate. This relationship might be transferable to other non-abundant historical cattle breeds that are conserved as genetic resources. The estimates of polymorphism impact using Variant Effect Predictor and SIFT software tools allowed for the identification of candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for association studies related to infection resistance and targeted breeding. Knowledge of TLR-gene diversity present in Czech Simmental populations may aid in the potential transfer of variant characteristics from other breeds.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome assembly and gene expression in the American black bear provides new insights into the renal response to hibernation.

The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is rising worldwide and 10-15% of the global population currently suffers from CKD and its complications. Given the increasing prevalence of CKD there is an urgent need to find novel treatment options. The American black bear (Ursus americanus) copes with months of lowered kidney function and metabolism during hibernation without the devastating effects on metabolism and other consequences observed in humans. In a biomimetic approach to better understand kidney adaptations and physiology in hibernating black bears, we established a high-quality genome assembly. Subsequent RNA-Seq analysis of kidneys comparing gene expression profiles in black bears entering (late fall) and emerging (early spring) from hibernation identified 169 protein-coding genes that were differentially expressed. Of these, 101 genes were downregulated and 68 genes were upregulated after hibernation. Fold changes ranged from 1.8-fold downregulation (RTN4RL2) to 2.4-fold upregulation (CISH). Most notable was the upregulation of cytokine suppression genes (SOCS2, CISH, and SERPINC1) and the lack of increased expression of cytokines and genes involved in inflammation. The identification of these differences in gene expression in the black bear kidney may provide new insights in the prevention and treatment of CKD. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential for Adaptation to Climate Change Through Genomic Breeding in Sesame

Sesame is an important oilseed crop with high oil content and oil quality. Abundant unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, and antioxidants in sesame seeds attract the worldwide consumption of sesame products. Sesame is highly tolerant of drought and poor soil condition, even though it is readily affected by diseases and waterlogging stress, thereby leading to reduced seed yield and quality. For sesame, increasing the high and stable yield is requisite and urgent. Meanwhile, it is necessary to increase the mechanization level of its harvest for the world’s sesame production. Sesame, S. indicum, is the sole cultivated species in Sesamum genus. The relatively low genetic diversity limits sesame breeding for new and substantial improved varieties. In this section, we present a review of the key agronomic traits and the breeding methods currently used in the species. We also pinpoint the achievement of the Sesame Genome Project (SGP) and the potential for the genomics-assisted breeding in sesame.


April 21, 2020  |  

De Novo Genome Sequence Assembly of Dwarf Coconut (Cocos nucifera L. ‘Catigan Green Dwarf’) Provides Insights into Genomic Variation Between Coconut Types and Related Palm Species.

We report the first whole genome sequence (WGS) assembly and annotation of a dwarf coconut variety, ‘Catigan Green Dwarf’ (CATD). The genome sequence was generated using the PacBio SMRT sequencing platform at 15X coverage of the expected genome size of 2.15 Gbp, which was corrected with assembled 50X Illumina paired-end MiSeq reads of the same genome. The draft genome was improved through Chicago sequencing to generate a scaffold assembly that results in a total genome size of 2.1 Gbp consisting of 7,998 scaffolds with N50 of 570,487 bp. The final assembly covers around 97.6% of the estimated genome size of coconut ‘CATD’ based on homozygous k-mer peak analysis. A total of 34,958 high-confidence gene models were predicted and functionally associated to various economically important traits, such as pest/disease resistance, drought tolerance, coconut oil biosynthesis, and putative transcription factors. The assembled genome was used to infer the evolutionary relationship within the palm family based on genomic variations and synteny of coding gene sequences. Data show that at least three (3) rounds of whole genome duplication occurred and are commonly shared by these members of the Arecaceae family. A total of 7,139 unique SSR markers were designed to be used as a resource in marker-based breeding. In addition, we discovered 58,503 variants in coconut by aligning the Hainan Tall (HAT) WGS reads to the non-repetitive regions of the assembled CATD genome. The gene markers and genome-wide SSR markers established here will facilitate the development of varieties with resilience to climate change, resistance to pests and diseases, and improved oil yield and quality.Copyright © 2019 Lantican et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Liriodendron genome sheds light on angiosperm phylogeny and species-pair differentiation.

The genus Liriodendron belongs to the family Magnoliaceae, which resides within the magnoliids, an early diverging lineage of the Mesangiospermae. However, the phylogenetic relationship of magnoliids with eudicots and monocots has not been conclusively resolved and thus remains to be determined1-6. Liriodendron is a relict lineage from the Tertiary with two distinct species-one East Asian (L. chinense (Hemsley) Sargent) and one eastern North American (L. tulipifera Linn)-identified as a vicariad species pair. However, the genetic divergence and evolutionary trajectories of these species remain to be elucidated at the whole-genome level7. Here, we report the first de novo genome assembly of a plant in the Magnoliaceae, L. chinense. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that magnoliids are sister to the clade consisting of eudicots and monocots, with rapid diversification occurring in the common ancestor of these three lineages. Analyses of population genetic structure indicate that L. chinense has diverged into two lineages-the eastern and western groups-in China. While L. tulipifera in North America is genetically positioned between the two L. chinense groups, it is closer to the eastern group. This result is consistent with phenotypic observations that suggest that the eastern and western groups of China may have diverged long ago, possibly before the intercontinental differentiation between L. chinense and L. tulipifera. Genetic diversity analyses show that L. chinense has tenfold higher genetic diversity than L. tulipifera, suggesting that the complicated regions comprising east-west-orientated mountains and the Yangtze river basin (especially near 30°?N latitude) in East Asia offered more successful refugia than the south-north-orientated mountain valleys in eastern North America during the Quaternary glacial period.


April 21, 2020  |  

Effect of sulfur-iron modified biochar on the available cadmium and bacterial community structure in contaminated soils.

Cadmium contamination in paddy soils has aroused increasing concern around the world, and biochar has many positive properties, such as large specific surface areas, micro porous structure for the heavy metal immobilization in soils. However there are few studies on sulfur-iron modified biochar as well as its microbiology effects. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Cd immobilization effects of sulfur or sulfur-iron modified biochar and its related microbial community changes in Cd-contaminated soils. SEM-EDX analysis confirmed that sulfur and iron were loaded on the raw biochar successfully. Sulfur-modified biochar (S-BC) and sulfur-iron modified biochar (SF-BC) addition increased pH value and the content of soil organic matter, and also decreased DTPA-extractable Cd. There was a negative significant correlation between organic matter content and the available Cd (P?


April 21, 2020  |  

Adaptation and Phenotypic Diversification in Arabidopsis through Loss-of-Function Mutations in Protein-Coding Genes.

According to the less-is-more hypothesis, gene loss is an engine for evolutionary change. Loss-of-function (LoF) mutations resulting in the natural knockout of protein-coding genes not only provide information about gene function but also play important roles in adaptation and phenotypic diversification. Although the less-is-more hypothesis was proposed two decades ago, it remains to be explored on a large scale. In this study, we identified 60,819 LoF variants in 1071 Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genomes and found that 34% of Arabidopsis protein-coding genes annotated in the Columbia-0 genome do not have any LoF variants. We found that nucleotide diversity, transposable element density, and gene family size are strongly correlated with the presence of LoF variants. Intriguingly, 0.9% of LoF variants with minor allele frequency larger than 0.5% are associated with climate change. In addition, in the Yangtze River basin population, 1% of genes with LoF mutations were under positive selection, providing important insights into the contribution of LoF mutations to adaptation. In particular, our results demonstrate that LoF mutations shape diverse phenotypic traits. Overall, our results highlight the importance of the LoF variants for the adaptation and phenotypic diversification of plants. © 2019 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

SMRT long reads and Direct Label and Stain optical maps allow the generation of a high-quality genome assembly for the European barn swallow (Hirundo rustica rustica).

The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a migratory bird that has been the focus of a large number of ecological, behavioral, and genetic studies. To facilitate further population genetics and genomic studies, we present a reference genome assembly for the European subspecies (H. r. rustica).As part of the Genome10K effort on generating high-quality vertebrate genomes (Vertebrate Genomes Project), we have assembled a highly contiguous genome assembly using single molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing and several Bionano optical map technologies. We compared and integrated optical maps derived from both the Nick, Label, Repair, and Stain technology and from the Direct Label and Stain (DLS) technology. As proposed by Bionano, DLS more than doubled the scaffold N50 with respect to the nickase. The dual enzyme hybrid scaffold led to a further marginal increase in scaffold N50 and an overall increase of confidence in the scaffolds. After removal of haplotigs, the final assembly is approximately 1.21 Gbp in size, with a scaffold N50 value of more than 25.95 Mbp.This high-quality genome assembly represents a valuable resource for future studies of population genetics and genomics in the barn swallow and for studies concerning the evolution of avian genomes. It also represents one of the very first genomes assembled by combining SMRT long-read sequencing with the new Bionano DLS technology for scaffolding. The quality of this assembly demonstrates the potential of this methodology to substantially increase the contiguity of genome assemblies.


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