April 21, 2020  |  

Haplotype-Resolved Cattle Genomes Provide Insights Into Structural Variation and Adaptation

We present high quality, phased genome assemblies representative of taurine and indicine cattle, subspecies that differ markedly in productivity-related traits and environmental adaptation. We report a new haplotype-aware scaffolding and polishing pipeline using contigs generated by the trio binning method to produce haplotype-resolved, chromosome-level genome assemblies of Angus (taurine) and Brahman (indicine) cattle breeds. These assemblies were used to identify structural and copy number variants that differentiate the subspecies and we found variant detection was sensitive to the specific reference genome chosen. Six gene families with immune related functions are expanded in the indicine lineage. Assembly of the genomes of both subspecies from a single individual enabled transcripts to be phased to detect allele-specific expression, and to study genome-wide selective sweeps. An indicus-specific extra copy of fatty acid desaturase is under positive selection and may contribute to indicine adaptation to heat and drought.

April 21, 2020  |  

Giant tortoise genomes provide insights into longevity and age-related disease.

Giant tortoises are among the longest-lived vertebrate animals and, as such, provide an excellent model to study traits like longevity and age-related diseases. However, genomic and molecular evolutionary information on giant tortoises is scarce. Here, we describe a global analysis of the genomes of Lonesome George-the iconic last member of Chelonoidis abingdonii-and the Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea). Comparison of these genomes with those of related species, using both unsupervised and supervised analyses, led us to detect lineage-specific variants affecting DNA repair genes, inflammatory mediators and genes related to cancer development. Our study also hints at specific evolutionary strategies linked to increased lifespan, and expands our understanding of the genomic determinants of ageing. These new genome sequences also provide important resources to help the efforts for restoration of giant tortoise populations.

April 21, 2020  |  

Gossypium barbadense and Gossypium hirsutum genomes provide insights into the origin and evolution of allotetraploid cotton.

Allotetraploid cotton is an economically important natural-fiber-producing crop worldwide. After polyploidization, Gossypium hirsutum L. evolved to produce a higher fiber yield and to better survive harsh environments than Gossypium barbadense, which produces superior-quality fibers. The global genetic and molecular bases for these interspecies divergences were unknown. Here we report high-quality de novo-assembled genomes for these two cultivated allotetraploid species with pronounced improvement in repetitive-DNA-enriched centromeric regions. Whole-genome comparative analyses revealed that species-specific alterations in gene expression, structural variations and expanded gene families were responsible for speciation and the evolutionary history of these species. These findings help to elucidate the evolution of cotton genomes and their domestication history. The information generated not only should enable breeders to improve fiber quality and resilience to ever-changing environmental conditions but also can be translated to other crops for better understanding of their domestication history and use in improvement.

April 21, 2020  |  

Extensive intraspecific gene order and gene structural variations in upland cotton cultivars.

Multiple cotton genomes (diploid and tetraploid) have been assembled. However, genomic variations between cultivars of allotetraploid upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), the most widely planted cotton species in the world, remain unexplored. Here, we use single-molecule long read and Hi-C sequencing technologies to assemble genomes of the two upland cotton cultivars TM-1 and zhongmiansuo24 (ZM24). Comparisons among TM-1 and ZM24 assemblies and the genomes of the diploid ancestors reveal a large amount of genetic variations. Among them, the top three longest structural variations are located on chromosome A08 of the tetraploid upland cotton, which account for ~30% total length of this chromosome. Haplotype analyses of the mapping population derived from these two cultivars and the germplasm panel show suppressed recombination rates in this region. This study provides additional genomic resources for the community, and the identified genetic variations, especially the reduced meiotic recombination on chromosome A08, will help future breeding.

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.

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