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  |  

Improvement of the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) reference genome and development of male-specific DNA markers.

The Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, is a highly migratory species that is widely distributed in the North Pacific Ocean. Like other marine species, T. orientalis has no external sexual dimorphism; thus, identifying sex-specific variants from whole genome sequence data is a useful approach to develop an effective sex identification method. Here, we report an improved draft genome of T. orientalis and male-specific DNA markers. Combining PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sufficiently improved genome assembly, with a 38-fold increase in scaffold contiguity (to 444 scaffolds) compared to the first published draft genome. Through analysing re-sequence data of 15 males and 16 females, 250 male-specific SNPs were identified from more than 30 million polymorphisms. All male-specific variants were male-heterozygous, suggesting that T. orientalis has a male heterogametic sex-determination system. The largest linkage disequilibrium block (3,174?bp on scaffold_064) contained 51 male-specific variants. PCR primers and a PCR-based sex identification assay were developed using these male-specific variants. The sex of 115 individuals (56 males and 59 females; sex was diagnosed by visual examination of the gonads) was identified with high accuracy using the assay. This easy, accurate, and practical technique facilitates the control of sex ratios in tuna farms. Furthermore, this method could be used to estimate the sex ratio and/or the sex-specific growth rate of natural populations.

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  |  

Meiotic sex in Chagas disease parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.

Genetic exchange enables parasites to rapidly transform disease phenotypes and exploit new host populations. Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasitic agent of Chagas disease and a public health concern throughout Latin America, has for decades been presumed to exchange genetic material rarely and without classic meiotic sex. We present compelling evidence from 45 genomes sequenced from southern Ecuador that T. cruzi in fact maintains truly sexual, panmictic groups that can occur alongside others that remain highly clonal after past hybridization events. These groups with divergent reproductive strategies appear genetically isolated despite possible co-occurrence in vectors and hosts. We propose biological explanations for the fine-scale disconnectivity we observe and discuss the epidemiological consequences of flexible reproductive modes. Our study reinvigorates the hunt for the site of genetic exchange in the T. cruzi life cycle, provides tools to define the genetic determinants of parasite virulence, and reforms longstanding theory on clonality in trypanosomatid parasites.

April 21, 2020  |  

Platanus-allee is a de novo haplotype assembler enabling a comprehensive access to divergent heterozygous regions.

The ultimate goal for diploid genome determination is to completely decode homologous chromosomes independently, and several phasing programs from consensus sequences have been developed. These methods work well for lowly heterozygous genomes, but the manifold species have high heterozygosity. Additionally, there are highly divergent regions (HDRs), where the haplotype sequences differ considerably. Because HDRs are likely to direct various interesting biological phenomena, many genomic analysis targets fall within these regions. However, they cannot be accessed by existing phasing methods, and we have to adopt costly traditional methods. Here, we develop a de novo haplotype assembler, Platanus-allee ( http://platanus.bio.titech.ac.jp/platanus2 ), which initially constructs each haplotype sequence and then untangles the assembly graphs utilizing sequence links and synteny information. A comprehensive benchmark analysis reveals that Platanus-allee exhibits high recall and precision, particularly for HDRs. Using this approach, previously unknown HDRs are detected in the human genome, which may uncover novel aspects of genome variability.

April 21, 2020  |  

Sequencing a Juglans regia?×?J. microcarpa hybrid yields high-quality genome assemblies of parental species.

Members of the genus Juglans are monecious wind-pollinated trees in the family Juglandaceae with highly heterozygous genomes, which greatly complicates genome sequence assembly. The genomes of interspecific hybrids are usually comprised of haploid genomes of parental species. We exploited this attribute of interspecific hybrids to avoid heterozygosity and sequenced an interspecific hybrid Juglans microcarpa?×?J. regia using a novel combination of single-molecule sequencing and optical genome mapping technologies. The resulting assemblies of both genomes were remarkably complete including chromosome termini and centromere regions. Chromosome termini consisted of arrays of telomeric repeats about 8?kb long and heterochromatic subtelomeric regions about 10?kb long. The centromeres consisted of arrays of a centromere-specific Gypsy retrotransposon and most contained genes, many of them transcribed. Juglans genomes evolved by a whole-genome-duplication dating back to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and consist of two subgenomes, which were fractionated by numerous short gene deletions evenly distributed along the length of the chromosomes. Fractionation was shown to be asymmetric with one subgenome exhibiting greater gene loss than the other. The asymmetry of the process is ongoing and mirrors an asymmetry in gene expression between the subgenomes. Given the importance of J. microcarpa?×?J. regia hybrids as potential walnut rootstocks, we catalogued disease resistance genes in the parental genomes and studied their chromosomal distribution. We also estimated the molecular clock rates for woody perennials and deployed them in estimating divergence times of Juglans genomes and those of other woody perennials.

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