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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Nuclease-mediated gene editing by homologous recombination of the human globin locus.

Tal-effector nucleases (TALENs) are engineered proteins that can stimulate precise genome editing through specific DNA double-strand breaks. Sickle cell disease and ß-thalassemia are common genetic disorders caused by mutations in ß-globin, and we engineered a pair of highly active TALENs that induce modification of 54% of human ß-globin alleles near the site of the sickle mutation. These TALENS stimulate targeted integration of therapeutic, full-length beta-globin cDNA to the endogenous ß-globin locus in 19% of cells prior to selection as quantified by single molecule real-time sequencing. We also developed highly active TALENs to human ?-globin, a pharmacologic target in sickle cell…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A knowledge-based molecular screen uncovers a broad-spectrum OsSWEET14 resistance allele to bacterial blight from wild rice.

Transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors are type III-delivered transcription factors that enhance the virulence of plant pathogenic Xanthomonas species through the activation of host susceptibility (S) genes. TAL effectors recognize their DNA target(s) via a partially degenerate code, whereby modular repeats in the TAL effector bind to nucleotide sequences in the host promoter. Although this knowledge has greatly facilitated our power to identify new S genes, it can also be easily used to screen plant genomes for variations in TAL effector target sequences and to predict for loss-of-function gene candidates in silico. In a proof-of-principle experiment, we screened a germplasm of…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Targeted gene addition in human CD34(+) hematopoietic cells for correction of X-linked chronic granulomatous disease.

Gene therapy with genetically modified human CD34(+) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) may be safer using targeted integration (TI) of transgenes into a genomic ‘safe harbor’ site rather than random viral integration. We demonstrate that temporally optimized delivery of zinc finger nuclease mRNA via electroporation and adeno-associated virus (AAV) 6 delivery of donor constructs in human HSPCs approaches clinically relevant levels of TI into the AAVS1 safe harbor locus. Up to 58% Venus(+) HSPCs with 6-16% human cell marking were observed following engraftment into mice. In HSPCs from patients with X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (X-CGD), caused by mutations in…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Endogenous sequence patterns predispose the repair modes of CRISPR/Cas9-induced DNA double-stranded breaks in Arabidopsis thaliana.

The possibility to predict the outcome of targeted DNA double-stranded break (DSB) repair would be desirable for genome editing. Furthermore the consequences of mis-repair of potentially cell-lethal DSBs and the underlying pathways are not yet fully understood. Here we study the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9-induced mutation spectra at three selected endogenous loci in Arabidopsis thaliana by deep sequencing of long amplicon libraries. Notably, we found sequence-dependent genomic features that affected the DNA repair outcome. Deletions of 1-bp to 1 kbp (all due to NHEJ) and deletions combined with insertions between 5-bp to >100 bp [caused by a synthesis-dependent strand…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cas9-mediated allelic exchange repairs compound heterozygous recessive mutations in mice.

We report a genome-editing strategy to correct compound heterozygous mutations, a common genotype in patients with recessive genetic disorders. Adeno-associated viral vector delivery of Cas9 and guide RNA induces allelic exchange and rescues the disease phenotype in mouse models of hereditary tyrosinemia type I and mucopolysaccharidosis type I. This approach recombines non-mutated genetic information present in two heterozygous alleles into one functional allele without using donor DNA templates.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Chromosomal-level assembly of yellow catfish genome using third-generation DNA sequencing and Hi-C analysis.

The yellow catfish, Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, belonging to the Siluriformes order, is an economically important freshwater aquaculture fish species in Asia, especially in Southern China. The aquaculture industry has recently been facing tremendous challenges in germplasm degeneration and poor disease resistance. As the yellow catfish exhibits notable sex dimorphism in growth, with adult males about two- to three-fold bigger than females, the way in which the aquaculture industry takes advantage of such sex dimorphism is another challenge. To address these issues, a high-quality reference genome of the yellow catfish would be a very useful resource.To construct a high-quality reference genome for…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Epstein-Barr virus miR-BHRF1 microRNAs regulate viral gene expression in cis.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) miR-BHRF1 microRNA (miRNA) cluster has been shown to facilitate B-cell transformation and promote the rapid growth of the resultant lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). However, we find that expression of physiological levels of the miR-BHRF1 miRNAs in LCLs transformed with a miR-BHRF1 null mutant (?123) fails to increase their growth rate. We demonstrate that the pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 stem-loops are present in the 3’UTR of transcripts encoding EBNA-LP and that excision of pre-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 by Drosha destabilizes these mRNAs and reduces expression of the encoded protein. Therefore, mutational inactivation of pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 in the ?123…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

ABC transporter mis-splicing associated with resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab in laboratory- and field-selected pink bollworm.

Evolution of pest resistance threatens the benefits of genetically engineered crops that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal proteins. Strategies intended to delay pest resistance are most effective when implemented proactively. Accordingly, researchers have selected for and analyzed resistance to Bt toxins in many laboratory strains of pests before resistance evolves in the field, but the utility of this approach depends on the largely untested assumption that laboratory- and field-selected resistance to Bt toxins are similar. Here we compared the genetic basis of resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab, which is widely deployed in transgenic crops, between laboratory- and field-selected populations of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Gaining comprehensive biological insight into the transcriptome by performing a broad-spectrum RNA-seq analysis.

RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) is an essential technique for transcriptome studies, hundreds of analysis tools have been developed since it was debuted. Although recent efforts have attempted to assess the latest available tools, they have not evaluated the analysis workflows comprehensively to unleash the power within RNA-seq. Here we conduct an extensive study analysing a broad spectrum of RNA-seq workflows. Surpassing the expression analysis scope, our work also includes assessment of RNA variant-calling, RNA editing and RNA fusion detection techniques. Specifically, we examine both short- and long-read RNA-seq technologies, 39 analysis tools resulting in ~120 combinations, and ~490 analyses involving 15 samples…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genome-wide identification and analysis of the ALTERNATIVE OXIDASE gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat.

A comprehensive understanding of wheat responses to environmental stress will contribute to the long-term goal of feeding the planet. ALERNATIVE OXIDASE (AOX) genes encode proteins involved in a bypass of the electron transport chain and are also known to be involved in stress tolerance in multiple species. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the AOX gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat. Four genes each were found in the diploid ancestors Triticum urartu, and Aegilops tauschii, and three in Aegilops speltoides. In hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum), 20 genes were identified, some with multiple splice variants, corresponding to a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

CRISPR/Cas9 deletions in a conserved exon of Distal-less generates gains and losses in a recently acquired morphological novelty in flies.

Distal-less has been repeatedly co-opted for the development of many novel traits. Here, we document its curious role in the development of a novel abdominal appendage (“sternite brushes”) in sepsid flies. CRISPR/Cas9 deletions in the homeodomain result in losses of sternite brushes, demonstrating that Distal-less is necessary for their development. However, deletions in the upstream coding exon (Exon 2) produce losses or gains of brushes. A dissection of Exon 2 reveals that the likely mechanism for gains involves a deletion in an exon-splicing enhancer site that leads to exon skipping. Such contradictory phenotypes are also observed in butterflies, suggesting that…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Avian transcriptomics: opportunities and challenges

Recent developments in next-generation sequencing technologies have greatly facilitated the study of whole transcriptomes in model and non-model species. Studying the transcriptome and how it changes across a variety of biological conditions has had major implications for our understanding of how the genome is regulated in different contexts, and how to interpret adaptations and the phenotype of an organism. The aim of this review is to highlight the potential of these new technologies for the study of avian transcriptomics, and to summarise how transcriptomics has been applied in ornithology. A total of 81 peer-reviewed scientific articles that used transcriptomics to…

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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

How far can mitochondrial DNA drive the disease?

Mitochondria are one of the dominant drivers for producing cellular energy to meet a large number of biological functions, of which the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the control center of energetic driving force and the dominant driver of mitochondrial molecular diversification. mtDNA transcription generates the necessary RNAs to regulate the extent and nature of mtRNA post-transcriptional modifications and the activity of nucleus-encoded enzymes. With a special focus on mtDNA, the current volume aims to overview the biology and structures of mtDNA, regulatory roles of mtDNA in lung diseases, or involvement of mtDNA in metabolism. We explore the significance of mtDNA…

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