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Monday, April 27, 2020

Case Study: Assembling high-quality human genomes – Beyond the ‘$1,000 genome’

Scientists from WashU, Macrogen, and Mount Sinai are using long-read sequencing with single-molecule, next-generation genome mapping to create gold-quality de novo assemblies of human genomes. Unbiased de novo assembled genomes also highlight the substantial amount of structural variation unique to individuals and populations, which cannot be accessed by short-read technologies that use a reference-based re-sequencing approach.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Application Note: Multiplex target enrichment using barcoded multi-kilobase fragments and probe-based capture technologies

Target enrichment capture methods allow scientists to rapidly interrogate important genomic regions of interest for variant discovery, including SNPs, gene isoforms, and structural variation. Custom targeted sequencing panels are important for characterizing heterogeneous, complex diseases and uncovering the genetic basis of inherited traits with more uniform coverage when compared to PCR-based strategies. With the increasing availability of high-quality reference genomes, customized gene panels are readily designed with high specificity to capture genomic regions of interest, thus enabling scientists to expand their research scope from a single individual to larger cohort studies or population-wide investigations. Coupled with PacBio long-read sequencing, these…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Adaptive archaic introgression of copy number variants and the discovery of previously unknown human genes

As they migrated out of Africa and into Europe and Asia, anatomically modern humans interbred with archaic hominins, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. The result of this genetic introgression on the recipient populations has been of considerable interest, especially in cases of selection for specific archaic genetic variants. Hsieh et al. characterized adaptive structural variants and copy number variants that are likely targets of positive selection in Melanesians. Focusing on population-specific regions of the genome that carry duplicated genes and show an excess of amino acid replacements provides evidence for one of the mechanisms by which genetic novelty can arise…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Reconstruction of the genomes of drug-resistant pathogens for outbreak investigation through metagenomic sequencing

Culture-independent methods that target genome fragments have shown promise in identifying certain pathogens, but the holy grail of comprehensive pathogen genome detection from microbiologically complex samples for subsequent forensic analyses remains a challenge. In the context of an investigation of a nosocomial outbreak, we used shotgun metagenomic sequencing of a human fecal sample and a neural network algorithm based on tetranucleotide frequency profiling to reconstruct microbial genomes and tested the same approach using rectal swabs from a second patient. The approach rapidly and readily detected the genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae in the patient fecal specimen and…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Characterizing the major structural variant alleles of the human genome.

In order to provide a comprehensive resource for human structural variants (SVs), we generated long-read sequence data and analyzed SVs for fifteen human genomes. We sequence resolved 99,604 insertions, deletions, and inversions including 2,238 (1.6 Mbp) that are shared among all discovery genomes with an additional 13,053 (6.9 Mbp) present in the majority, indicating minor alleles or errors in the reference. Genotyping in 440 additional genomes confirms the most common SVs in unique euchromatin are now sequence resolved. We report a ninefold SV bias toward the last 5 Mbp of human chromosomes with nearly 55% of all VNTRs (variable number…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A 12-kb structural variation in progressive myoclonic epilepsy was newly identified by long-read whole-genome sequencing.

We report a family with progressive myoclonic epilepsy who underwent whole-exome sequencing but was negative for pathogenic variants. Similar clinical courses of a devastating neurodegenerative phenotype of two affected siblings were highly suggestive of a genetic etiology, which indicates that the survey of genetic variation by whole-exome sequencing was not comprehensive. To investigate the presence of a variant that remained unrecognized by standard genetic testing, PacBio long-read sequencing was performed. Structural variant (SV) detection using low-coverage (6×) whole-genome sequencing called 17,165 SVs (7,216 deletions and 9,949 insertions). Our SV selection narrowed down potential candidates to only five SVs (two deletions…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Human Migration and the Spread of the Nematode Parasite Wuchereria bancrofti.

The human disease lymphatic filariasis causes the debilitating effects of elephantiasis and hydrocele. Lymphatic filariasis currently affects the lives of 90 million people in 52 countries. There are three nematodes that cause lymphatic filariasis, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, and Wuchereria bancrofti, but 90% of all cases of lymphatic filariasis are caused solely by W. bancrofti (Wb). Here we use population genomics to reconstruct the probable route and timing of migration of Wb strains that currently infect Africa, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). We used selective whole genome amplification to sequence 42 whole genomes of single Wb worms from populations…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Featherweight long read alignment using partitioned reference indexes.

The advent of Nanopore sequencing has realised portable genomic research and applications. However, state of the art long read aligners and large reference genomes are not compatible with most mobile computing devices due to their high memory requirements. We show how memory requirements can be reduced through parameter optimisation and reference genome partitioning, but highlight the associated limitations and caveats of these approaches. We then demonstrate how these issues can be overcome through an appropriate merging technique. We incorporated multi-index merging into the Minimap2 aligner and demonstrate that long read alignment to the human genome can be performed on a…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Haplotype-aware diplotyping from noisy long reads.

Current genotyping approaches for single-nucleotide variations rely on short, accurate reads from second-generation sequencing devices. Presently, third-generation sequencing platforms are rapidly becoming more widespread, yet approaches for leveraging their long but error-prone reads for genotyping are lacking. Here, we introduce a novel statistical framework for the joint inference of haplotypes and genotypes from noisy long reads, which we term diplotyping. Our technique takes full advantage of linkage information provided by long reads. We validate hundreds of thousands of candidate variants that have not yet been included in the high-confidence reference set of the Genome-in-a-Bottle effort.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Systematic analysis of dark and camouflaged genes reveals disease-relevant genes hiding in plain sight.

The human genome contains “dark” gene regions that cannot be adequately assembled or aligned using standard short-read sequencing technologies, preventing researchers from identifying mutations within these gene regions that may be relevant to human disease. Here, we identify regions with few mappable reads that we call dark by depth, and others that have ambiguous alignment, called camouflaged. We assess how well long-read or linked-read technologies resolve these regions.Based on standard whole-genome Illumina sequencing data, we identify 36,794 dark regions in 6054 gene bodies from pathways important to human health, development, and reproduction. Of these gene bodies, 8.7% are completely dark…

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Highlighting unexplored genomic regions with SMRT Sequencing – informatics for structural event detection in PacBio

Ali Bashir from the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai describes a tool to detect tandem repeats (PACMonSTR), which he believes are dramatically underrepresented in the human genome reference but that can be discovered with PacBio sequencing. In a collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Cornell, Bashir and his team generated shotgun, whole-genome sequence data from human genomic DNA using PacBio sequencing. Their goal was to find structural variation features that are not present in the existing reference. He shows numerous examples wherein the long PacBio reads were able to resolve inversions in the sample,…

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ASHG PacBio Workshop: Resolving complexity of the human genome

Evan Eichler, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator from the University of Washington discusses his use of the PacBio system to study difficult-to-sequence regions of the human and chimp genomes. Eichler has identified a number of rapidly evolving hot spots in the human genome that are associated with disease. These regions are quite long and have extremely repetitive DNA sequence, making them difficult to elucidate with short-read sequencing and very expensive to interrogate with Sanger sequencing. Eichler’s goal is to fill in the missing regions of the human genome reference, many of which contain segmental duplications.

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