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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Integrating long-range connectivity information into de Bruijn graphs.

The de Bruijn graph is a simple and efficient data structure that is used in many areas of sequence analysis including genome assembly, read error correction and variant calling. The data structure has a single parameter k, is straightforward to implement and is tractable for large genomes with high sequencing depth. It also enables representation of multiple samples simultaneously to facilitate comparison. However, unlike the string graph, a de Bruijn graph does not retain long range information that is inherent in the read data. For this reason, applications that rely on de Bruijn graphs can produce sub-optimal results given their…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Human copy number variants are enriched in regions of low mappability.

Copy number variants (CNVs) are known to affect a large portion of the human genome and have been implicated in many diseases. Although whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can help identify CNVs, most analytical methods suffer from limited sensitivity and specificity, especially in regions of low mappability. To address this, we use PopSV, a CNV caller that relies on multiple samples to control for technical variation. We demonstrate that our calls are stable across different types of repeat-rich regions and validate the accuracy of our predictions using orthogonal approaches. Applying PopSV to 640 human genomes, we find that low-mappability regions are approximately…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The energy-coupling factor transporter module EcfAA’T, a novel candidate for the genetic basis of fatty acid-auxotrophic small-colony variants of Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcal small-colony variants (SCVs) are invasive and persistent due to their ability to thrive intracellularly and to evade the host immune response. Thus, the course of infections due to this phenotype is often chronic, relapsing, and therapy-refractory. In order to improve treatment of patients suffering from SCV-associated infections, it is of major interest to understand triggers for the development of this phenotype, in particular for strains naturally occurring in clinical settings. Within this study, we comprehensively characterized two different Staphylococcus aureus triplets each consisting of isogenic strains comprising (i) clinically derived SCV phenotypes with auxotrophy for unsaturated fatty acids, (ii)…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic approaches for studying crop evolution.

Understanding how crop plants evolved from their wild relatives and spread around the world can inform about the origins of agriculture. Here, we review how the rapid development of genomic resources and tools has made it possible to conduct genetic mapping and population genetic studies to unravel the molecular underpinnings of domestication and crop evolution in diverse crop species. We propose three future avenues for the study of crop evolution: establishment of high-quality reference genomes for crops and their wild relatives; genomic characterization of germplasm collections; and the adoption of novel methodologies such as archaeogenetics, epigenomics, and genome editing.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Structural variants exhibit allelic heterogeneity and shape variation in complex traits

Despite extensive effort to reveal the genetic basis of complex phenotypic variation, studies typically explain only a fraction of trait heritability. It has been hypothesized that individually rare hidden structural variants (SVs) could account for a significant fraction of variation in complex traits. To investigate this hypothesis, we assembled 14 Drosophila melanogaster genomes and systematically identified more than 20,000 euchromatic SVs, of which ~40% are invisible to high specificity short read genotyping approaches. SVs are common in Drosophila genes, with almost one third of diploid individuals harboring an SV in genes larger than 5kb, and nearly a quarter harboring multiple…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Parliament2: Fast structural variant calling using optimized combinations of callers

Here we present Parliament2: a structural variant caller which combines multiple best-in-class structural variant callers to create a highly accurate callset. This captures more events than the individual callers achieve independently. Parliament2 uses a call-overlap-genotype approach that is highly extensible to new methods and presents users the choice to run some or all of Breakdancer, Breakseq, CNVnator, Delly, Lumpy, and Manta to run. Parliament2 applies an additional parallelization framework to speed certain callers and executes these in parallel, taking advantage of the different resource requirements to complete structural variant calling much faster than running the programs individually. Parliament2 is available…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Multisite de novo mutations in human offspring after paternal exposure to ionizing radiation.

A genome-wide evaluation of the effects of ionizing radiation on mutation induction in the mouse germline has identified multisite de novo mutations (MSDNs) as marker for previous exposure. Here we present the results of a small pilot study of whole genome sequencing in offspring of soldiers who served in radar units on weapon systems that were emitting high-frequency radiation. We found cases of exceptionally high MSDN rates as well as an increased mean in our cohort: While a MSDN mutation is detected in average in 1 out of 5 offspring of unexposed controls, we observed 12 MSDNs in altogether 18…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A multiplex homology-directed DNA repair assay reveals the impact of more than 1,000 BRCA1 missense substitution variants on protein function.

Loss-of-function pathogenic variants in BRCA1 confer a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for sequence changes in BRCA1 frequently reveals a missense variant for which the impact on cancer risk and on the molecular function of BRCA1 is unknown. Functional BRCA1 is required for the homology-directed repair (HDR) of double-strand DNA breaks, a critical activity for maintaining genome integrity and tumor suppression. Here, we describe a multiplex HDR reporter assay for concurrently measuring the effects of hundreds of variants of BRCA1 for their role in DNA repair. Using this assay, we characterized the effects of 1,056 amino acid…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Recovery of novel association loci in Arabidopsis thaliana and Drosophila melanogaster through leveraging INDELs association and integrated burden test.

Short insertions, deletions (INDELs) and larger structural variants have been increasingly employed in genetic association studies, but few improvements over SNP-based association have been reported. In order to understand why this might be the case, we analysed two publicly available datasets and observed that 63% of INDELs called in A. thaliana and 64% in D. melanogaster populations are misrepresented as multiple alleles with different functional annotations, i.e. where the same underlying variant is represented by inconsistent alignments leading to different variant calls. To address this issue, we have developed the software Irisas to reclassify and re-annotate these variants, which we…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Targeted genotyping of variable number tandem repeats with adVNTR.

Whole-genome sequencing is increasingly used to identify Mendelian variants in clinical pipelines. These pipelines focus on single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and also structural variants, while ignoring more complex repeat sequence variants. Here, we consider the problem of genotyping Variable Number Tandem Repeats (VNTRs), composed of inexact tandem duplications of short (6-100 bp) repeating units. VNTRs span 3% of the human genome, are frequently present in coding regions, and have been implicated in multiple Mendelian disorders. Although existing tools recognize VNTR carrying sequence, genotyping VNTRs (determining repeat unit count and sequence variation) from whole-genome sequencing reads remains challenging. We describe a method,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Computational tools to unmask transposable elements.

A substantial proportion of the genome of many species is derived from transposable elements (TEs). Moreover, through various self-copying mechanisms, TEs continue to proliferate in the genomes of most species. TEs have contributed numerous regulatory, transcript and protein innovations and have also been linked to disease. However, notwithstanding their demonstrated impact, many genomic studies still exclude them because their repetitive nature results in various analytical complexities. Fortunately, a growing array of methods and software tools are being developed to cater for them. This Review presents a summary of computational resources for TEs and highlights some of the challenges and remaining…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A complete Leishmania donovani reference genome identifies novel genetic variations associated with virulence.

Leishmania donovani is responsible for visceral leishmaniasis, a neglected and lethal parasitic disease with limited treatment options and no vaccine. The study of L. donovani has been hindered by the lack of a high-quality reference genome and this can impact experimental outcomes including the identification of virulence genes, drug targets and vaccine development. We therefore generated a complete genome assembly by deep sequencing using a combination of second generation (Illumina) and third generation (PacBio) sequencing technologies. Compared to the current L. donovani assembly, the genome assembly reported within resulted in the closure over 2,000 gaps, the extension of several chromosomes…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic insights into virulence mechanisms of Leishmania donovani: evidence from an atypical strain.

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease with diverse clinical phenotypes, determined by parasite, host and vector interactions. Despite the advances in molecular biology and the availability of more Leishmania genome references in recent years, the association between parasite species and distinct clinical phenotypes remains poorly understood. We present a genomic comparison of an atypical variant of Leishmania donovani from a South Asian focus, where it mostly causes cutaneous form of leishmaniasis.Clinical isolates from six cutaneous leishmaniasis patients (CL-SL); 2 of whom were poor responders to antimony (CL-PR), and two visceral leishmaniasis patients (VL-SL) were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq platform.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The central exons of the human MUC2 and MUC6 mucins are highly repetitive and variable in sequence between individuals

The DNA sequence of the two human mucin genes MUC2 and MUC6 have not been completely resolved due to the repetitive nature of their central exon coding for Proline, Threonine and Serine rich sequences. The exact nucleotide sequence of these exons has remained unknown for a long time due to limitations in traditional sequencing techniques. These are still very poorly covered in new whole genome sequencing projects with the corresponding protein sequences partly missing. We used a BAC clone containing both these genes and third generation sequencing technology, SMRT sequencing, to obtain the full-length contiguous MUC2 and MUC6 tandem repeat…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Improved reference genome for the domestic horse increases assembly contiguity and composition.

Recent advances in genomic sequencing technology and computational assembly methods have allowed scientists to improve reference genome assemblies in terms of contiguity and composition. EquCab2, a reference genome for the domestic horse, was released in 2007. Although of equal or better quality compared to other first-generation Sanger assemblies, it had many of the shortcomings common to them. In 2014, the equine genomics research community began a project to improve the reference sequence for the horse, building upon the solid foundation of EquCab2 and incorporating new short-read data, long-read data, and proximity ligation data. Here, we present EquCab3. The count of…

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