June 1, 2021  |  

The resurgence of reference quality genome sequence.

Since the advent of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), the cost of de novo genome sequencing and assembly have dropped precipitately, which has spurred interest in genome sequencing overall. Unfortunately the contiguity of the NGS assembled sequences, as well as the accuracy of these assemblies have suffered. Additionally, most NGS de novo assemblies leave large portions of genomes unresolved, and repetitive regions are often collapsed. When compared to the reference quality genome sequences produced before the NGS era, the new sequences are highly fragmented and often prove to be difficult to properly annotate. In some cases the contiguous portions are smaller than the average gene size making the sequence not nearly as useful for biologists as the earlier reference quality genomes including of Human, Mouse, C. elegans, or Drosophila. Recently, new 3rd generation sequencing technologies, long-range molecular techniques, and new informatics tools have facilitated a return to high quality assembly. We will discuss the capabilities of the technologies and assess their impact on assembly projects across the tree of life from small microbial and fungal genomes through large plant and animal genomes. Beyond improvements to contiguity, we will focus on the additional biological insights that can be made with better assemblies, including more complete analysis genes in their flanking regulatory context, in-depth studies of transposable elements and other complex gene families, and long-range synteny analysis of entire chromosomes. We will also discuss the need for new algorithms for representing and analyzing collections of many complete genomes at once.


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  |  

De novo assembly of white poplar genome and genetic diversity of white poplar population in Irtysh River basin in China.

The white poplar (Populus alba) is widely distributed in Central Asia and Europe. There are natural populations of white poplar in Irtysh River basin in China. It also can be cultivated and grown well in northern China. In this study, we sequenced the genome of P. alba by single-molecule real-time technology. De novo assembly of P. alba had a genome size of 415.99 Mb with a contig N50 of 1.18 Mb. A total of 32,963 protein-coding genes were identified. 45.16% of the genome was annotated as repetitive elements. Genome evolution analysis revealed that divergence between P. alba and Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood) occurred ~5.0 Mya (3.0, 7.1). Fourfold synonymous third-codon transversion (4DTV) and synonymous substitution rate (ks) distributions supported the occurrence of the salicoid WGD event (~ 65 Mya). Twelve natural populations of P. alba in the Irtysh River basin in China were sequenced to explore the genetic diversity. Average pooled heterozygosity value of P. alba populations was 0.170±0.014, which was lower than that in Italy (0.271±0.051) and Hungary (0.264±0.054). Tajima’s D values showed a negative distribution, which might signify an excess of low frequency polymorphisms and a bottleneck with later expansion of P. alba populations examined.


April 21, 2020  |  

A chromosome-level genome assembly of Cydia pomonella provides insights into chemical ecology and insecticide resistance.

The codling moth Cydia pomonella, a major invasive pest of pome fruit, has spread around the globe in the last half century. We generated a chromosome-level scaffold assembly including the Z chromosome and a portion of the W chromosome. This assembly reveals the duplication of an olfactory receptor gene (OR3), which we demonstrate enhances the ability of C. pomonella to exploit kairomones and pheromones in locating both host plants and mates. Genome-wide association studies contrasting insecticide-resistant and susceptible strains identify hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) potentially associated with insecticide resistance, including three SNPs found in the promoter of CYP6B2. RNAi knockdown of CYP6B2 increases C. pomonella sensitivity to two insecticides, deltamethrin and azinphos methyl. The high-quality genome assembly of C. pomonella informs the genetic basis of its invasiveness, suggesting the codling moth has distinctive capabilities and adaptive potential that may explain its worldwide expansion.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Analyses Reveal Evidence of Independent Evolution, Demographic History, and Extreme Environment Adaptation of Tibetan Plateau Agaricus bisporus.

Agaricus bisporus distributed in the Tibetan Plateau of China has high-stress resistance that is valuable for breeding improvements. However, its evolutionary history, specialization, and adaptation to the extreme Tibetan Plateau environment are largely unknown. Here, we performed de novo genome sequencing of a representative Tibetan Plateau wild strain ABM and comparative genomic analysis with the reported European strain H97 and H39. The assembled ABM genome was 30.4 Mb in size, and comprised 8,562 protein-coding genes. The ABM genome shared highly conserved syntenic blocks and a few inversions with H97 and H39. The phylogenetic tree constructed by 1,276 single-copy orthologous genes in nine fungal species showed that the Tibetan Plateau and European A. bisporus diverged ~5.5 million years ago. Population genomic analysis using genome resequencing of 29 strains revealed that the Tibetan Plateau population underwent significant differentiation from the European and American populations and evolved independently, and the global climate changes critically shaped the demographic history of the Tibetan Plateau population. Moreover, we identified key genes that are related to the cell wall and membrane system, and the development and defense systems regulated A. bisporus adapting to the harsh Tibetan Plateau environment. These findings highlight the value of genomic data in assessing the evolution and adaptation of mushrooms and will enhance future genetic improvements of A. bisporus.


April 21, 2020  |  

De novo genome sequencing and secretome analysis of Tilletia indica inciting Karnal bunt of wheat provides pathogenesis-related genes.

Tilletia indica is an internationally quarantined fungal pathogen causing Karnal bunt of wheat. The present study carried out that the whole genome of T. indica was sequenced and identified transposable elements, pathogenicity-related genes using a comparative genomics approach. The T. indica genome assembly size of 33.7 MB was generated using Illumina and Pac Bio platforms with GC content of 55.0%. A total of 1737 scaffolds were obtained with N50 of 58,667 bp. The ab initio gene prediction was performed using Ustilago maydis as the reference species. A total number of 10,113 genes were predicted with an average gene size of 1945 bp out of which functionally annotated genes were 7262. A total number of 3216 protein-coding genes were assigned in different categories. Out of a total number of 1877 transposable elements, gypsy had the highest count (573). Total 5772 simple sequence repeats were identified in the genome assembly, and the most abundant simple sequence repeat type was trinucleotide having 42% of total SSRs. The comparative genome analysis suggested 3751 proteins of T. indica had orthologs in five fungi, whereas 126 proteins were unique to T. indica. Secretome analysis revealed the presence of 1014 secretory proteins and few carbohydrate-active enzymes in the genome. Some putative candidate pathogenicity-related genes were identified in the genome. The whole genome of T. indica will provide a window to understand the pathogenesis mechanism, fungal life cycle, survival of teliospores, and novel strategies for management of Karnal bunt disease of wheat.


April 21, 2020  |  

Prunus genetics and applications after de novo genome sequencing: achievements and prospects.

Prior to the availability of whole-genome sequences, our understanding of the structural and functional aspects of Prunus tree genomes was limited mostly to molecular genetic mapping of important traits and development of EST resources. With public release of the peach genome and others that followed, significant advances in our knowledge of Prunus genomes and the genetic underpinnings of important traits ensued. In this review, we highlight key achievements in Prunus genetics and breeding driven by the availability of these whole-genome sequences. Within the structural and evolutionary contexts, we summarize: (1) the current status of Prunus whole-genome sequences; (2) preliminary and ongoing work on the sequence structure and diversity of the genomes; (3) the analyses of Prunus genome evolution driven by natural and man-made selection; and (4) provide insight into haploblocking genomes as a means to define genome-scale patterns of evolution that can be leveraged for trait selection in pedigree-based Prunus tree breeding programs worldwide. Functionally, we summarize recent and ongoing work that leverages whole-genome sequences to identify and characterize genes controlling 22 agronomically important Prunus traits. These include phenology, fruit quality, allergens, disease resistance, tree architecture, and self-incompatibility. Translationally, we explore the application of sequence-based marker-assisted breeding technologies and other sequence-guided biotechnological approaches for Prunus crop improvement. Finally, we present the current status of publically available Prunus genomics and genetics data housed mainly in the Genome Database for Rosaceae (GDR) and its updated functionalities for future bioinformatics-based Prunus genetics and genomics inquiry.


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