April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic Plasticity Mediated by Transposable Elements in the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Colletotrichum higginsianum.

Phytopathogen genomes are under constant pressure to change, as pathogens are locked in an evolutionary arms race with their hosts, where pathogens evolve effector genes to manipulate their hosts, whereas the hosts evolve immune components to recognize the products of these genes. Colletotrichum higginsianum (Ch), a fungal pathogen with no known sexual morph, infects Brassicaceae plants including Arabidopsis thaliana. Previous studies revealed that Ch differs in its virulence toward various Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes, indicating the existence of coevolutionary selective pressures. However, between-strain genomic variations in Ch have not been studied. Here, we sequenced and assembled the genome of a Ch strain, resulting in a highly contiguous genome assembly, which was compared with the chromosome-level genome assembly of another strain to identify genomic variations between strains. We found that the two closely related strains vary in terms of large-scale rearrangements, the existence of strain-specific regions, and effector candidate gene sets and that these variations are frequently associated with transposable elements (TEs). Ch has a compartmentalized genome consisting of gene-sparse, TE-dense regions with more effector candidate genes and gene-dense, TE-sparse regions harboring conserved genes. Additionally, analysis of the conservation patterns and syntenic regions of effector candidate genes indicated that the two strains vary in their effector candidate gene sets because of de novo evolution, horizontal gene transfer, or gene loss after divergence. Our results reveal mechanisms for generating genomic diversity in this asexual pathogen, which are important for understanding its adaption to hosts. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

The First Highly Contiguous Genome Assembly of Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca), an Emerging Aquaculture Species in Europe

The pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) is a fresh and brackish water Percid fish natively inhabiting the northern hemisphere. This species is emerging as a promising candidate for intensive aquaculture production in Europe. Specific traits like cannibalism, growth rate and meat quality require genomics based understanding, for an optimal husbandry and domestication process. Still, the aquaculture community is lacking an annotated genome sequence to facilitate genome-wide studies on pikeperch. Here, we report the first highly contiguous draft genome assembly of Sander lucioperca. In total, 413 and 66 giga base pairs of DNA sequencing raw data were generated with the Illumina platform and PacBio Sequel System, respectively. The PacBio data were assembled into a final assembly size of ~900 Mb covering 89% of the 1,014 Mb estimated genome size. The draft genome consisted of 1966 contigs ordered into 1,313 scaffolds. The contig and scaffold N50 lengths are 3.0 Mb and 4.9 Mb, respectively. The identified repetitive structures accounted for 39% of the genome. We utilized homologies to other ray-finned fishes, and ab initio gene prediction methods to predict 21,249 protein-coding genes in the Sander lucioperca genome, of which 88% were functionally annotated by either sequence homology or protein domains and signatures search. The assembled genome spans 97.6% and 96.3% of Vertebrate and Actinopterygii single-copy orthologs, respectively. The outstanding mapping rate (99.9%) of genomic PE-reads on the assembly suggests an accurate and nearly complete genome reconstruction. This draft genome sequence is the first genomic resource for this promising aquaculture species. It will provide an impetus for genomic-based breeding studies targeting phenotypic and performance traits of captive pikeperch.


April 21, 2020  |  

A hybrid de novo genome assembly of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, with chromosome-length scaffolds.

The ability to generate long sequencing reads and access long-range linkage information is revolutionizing the quality and completeness of genome assemblies. Here we use a hybrid approach that combines data from four genome sequencing and mapping technologies to generate a new genome assembly of the honeybee Apis mellifera. We first generated contigs based on PacBio sequencing libraries, which were then merged with linked-read 10x Chromium data followed by scaffolding using a BioNano optical genome map and a Hi-C chromatin interaction map, complemented by a genetic linkage map.Each of the assembly steps reduced the number of gaps and incorporated a substantial amount of additional sequence into scaffolds. The new assembly (Amel_HAv3) is significantly more contiguous and complete than the previous one (Amel_4.5), based mainly on Sanger sequencing reads. N50 of contigs is 120-fold higher (5.381 Mbp compared to 0.053 Mbp) and we anchor >?98% of the sequence to chromosomes. All of the 16 chromosomes are represented as single scaffolds with an average of three sequence gaps per chromosome. The improvements are largely due to the inclusion of repetitive sequence that was unplaced in previous assemblies. In particular, our assembly is highly contiguous across centromeres and telomeres and includes hundreds of AvaI and AluI repeats associated with these features.The improved assembly will be of utility for refining gene models, studying genome function, mapping functional genetic variation, identification of structural variants, and comparative genomics.


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