September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the Japanese oak silk moth, Antheraea yamamai: the first draft genome in the family Saturniidae.

Antheraea yamamai, also known as the Japanese oak silk moth, is a wild species of silk moth. Silk produced by A. yamamai, referred to as tensan silk, shows different characteristics such as thickness, compressive elasticity, and chemical resistance compared with common silk produced from the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori. Its unique characteristics have led to its use in many research fields including biotechnology and medical science, and the scientific as well as economic importance of the wild silk moth continues to gradually increase. However, no genomic information for the wild silk moth, including A. yamamai, is currently available.In order to construct the A. yamamai genome, a total of 147G base pairs using Illumina and Pacbio sequencing platforms were generated, providing 210-fold coverage based on the 700-Mb estimated genome size of A. yamamai. The assembled genome of A. yamamai was 656 Mb (>2 kb) with 3675 scaffolds, and the N50 length of assembly was 739 Kb with a 34.07% GC ratio. Identified repeat elements covered 37.33% of the total genome, and the completeness of the constructed genome assembly was estimated to be 96.7% by Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs v2 analysis. A total of 15 481 genes were identified using Evidence Modeler based on the gene prediction results obtained from 3 different methods (ab initio, RNA-seq-based, known-gene-based) and manual curation.Here we present the genome sequence of A. yamamai, the first genome sequence of the wild silk moth. These results provide valuable genomic information, which will help enrich our understanding of the molecular mechanisms relating to not only specific phenotypes such as wild silk itself but also the genomic evolution of Saturniidae.© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-quality assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus genome and transcriptome reveals a wide range of novel allergens.

House dust mites (HDM) are a predominant source of inhalant allergens that attribute to over 50% of worldwide allergy cases, while the full spectrum of HDM allergens remains unknown. Here we sequenced a high-quality genome of Dermatophagoides (D.) pteronyssinus to find known canonical allergens and allergen orthologs inferred from D. farinae genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

The draft genome assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus supports identification of novel allergen isoforms in Dermatophagoides species.

Background: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and Dermatophagoides farinae (DF) are highly similar disease-asso- ciated mites with frequently overlapping geographic distributions. A draft genome of DP was assembled to identify the candidate allergens in DP that are homologous to those in DF, investigate allergen isoforms, and facilitate comparisons with related Acari. Methods: PacBio and Illumina whole-genome sequencing was performed on DP. Assembly and reconstruction of the genomes were optimized for isoform identification in a heterogeneous population. Bioinformatic analyses of Acari genomes were performed. Results: The predicted size of the DP nuclear genome is 52.5 Mb. A predicted set of 19,368 proteins was identified, including all 19 currently recognized allergens from this species. Orthologs for 12 allergens established for DF were found. The population of DP mites showed a high level of heterozygosity that allowed the identification of 43 new isoforms for both established and candidate allergens in DP including a new isoform for the major allergen Der p 23. Reanalyzing the previous DF data assuming heterozygosity, 14 new allergen isoforms could be identified. Some new isoforms were observed in both species, suggesting that these isoforms predated speciation. The high quality of both genomes allowed an examination of synteny which showed that many allergen orthologs are physically clustered but with species-specific exon/intron structures. Comparative genomic analyses of other Acariformes mites showed that most of the allergen homologs are widely conserved within this Superorder. Conclusions: Candidate allergens in DP were identified to facilitate future serological studies. While DP and DF are highly similar genetically, species-specific allergen isoforms exist to facilitate molecular differentiation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of candidate genes at the Dp-fl locus conferring resistance against the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea

The cultivated apple is susceptible to several pests including the rosy apple aphid (RAA; Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini), control of which is mainly based on chemical treatments. A few cases of resistance to aphids have been described in apple germplasm resources, laying the basis for the development of new resistant cultivars by breeding. The cultivar ‘Florina’ is resistant to RAA, and recently, the Dp-fl locus responsible for its resistance was mapped on linkage group 8 of the apple genome. In this paper, a chromosome walking approach was performed by using a ‘Florina’ bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The walking started from the available tightly linked molecular markers flanking the resistance region. Various walking steps were performed in order to identify the minimum tiling path of BAC clones covering the Dp-fl region from both the “resistant” and “susceptible” chromosomes of ‘Florina’. A genomic region of about 279 Kb encompassing the Dp-fl resistance locus was fully sequenced by the PacBio technology. Through the development of new polymorphic markers, the mapping interval around the resistance locus was narrowed down to a physical region of 95 Kb. The annotation of this sequence resulted in the identification of four candidate genes putatively involved in the RAA resistance response.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genome of the Hi5 germ cell line from Trichoplusia ni, an agricultural pest and novel model for small RNA biology.

We report a draft assembly of the genome of Hi5 cells from the lepidopteran insect pest,Trichoplusia ni, assigning 90.6% of bases to one of 28 chromosomes and predicting 14,037 protein-coding genes. Chemoreception and detoxification gene families revealT. ni-specific gene expansions that may explain its widespread distribution and rapid adaptation to insecticides. Transcriptome and small RNA data from thorax, ovary, testis, and the germline-derived Hi5 cell line show distinct expression profiles for 295 microRNA- and >393 piRNA-producing loci, as well as 39 genes encoding small RNA pathway proteins. Nearly all of the W chromosome is devoted to piRNA production, andT. nisiRNAs are not 2´-O-methylated. To enable use of Hi5 cells as a model system, we have established genome editing and single-cell cloning protocols. TheT. nigenome provides insights into pest control and allows Hi5 cells to become a new tool for studying small RNAs ex vivo.© 2018, Fu et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

By land, air, and sea: hemipteran diversity through the genomic lens

Thanks to a recent spate of sequencing projects, the Hemiptera are the first hemimetabolous insect order to achieve a critical mass of species with sequenced genomes, establishing the basis for comparative genomics of the bugs. However, as the most speciose hemimetabolous order, there is still a vast swathe of the hemipteran phylogeny that awaits genomic representation across subterranean, terrestrial, and aquatic habitats, and with lineage-specific and developmentally plastic cases of both wing polyphenisms and flightlessness. In this review, we highlight opportunities for taxonomic sampling beyond obvious pest species candidates, motivated by intriguing biological features of certain groups as well as the rich research tradition of ecological, physiological, developmental, and particularly cytogenetic investigation that spans the diversity of the Hemiptera.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genotype assembly, biological activity and adaptation of spatially separated isolates of Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus.

The cotton leafworm Spodoptera litura is a polyphagous insect. It has recently made a comeback as a primary insect pest of cotton in Pakistan due to reductions in pesticide use on the advent of genetically modified cotton, resistant to Helicoverpa armigera. Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpltNPV) infects S. litura and is recognized as a potential candidate to control this insect. Twenty-two NPV isolates were collected from S. litura from different agro-ecological zones (with collection sites up to 600?km apart) and cropping systems in Pakistan to see whether there is spatial dispersal and adaptation of the virus and/or adaptation to crops. Therefore, the genetic make-up and biological activity of these isolates was measured. Among the SpltNPV isolates tested for speed of kill in 3rd instar larvae of S. litura, TAX1, SFD1, SFD2 and GRW1 were significantly faster killing isolates than other Pakistani isolates. Restriction fragment length analysis of the DNA showed that the Pakistan SpltNPV isolates are all variants of a single SpltNPV biotype. The isolates could be grouped into three genogroups (A-C). The speed of kill of genogroup A viruses was higher than in group C according to a Cox’ proportional hazards analysis. Sequence analysis showed that the Pakistan SpltNPV isolates are more closely related to each other than to the SpltNPV type species G2 (Pang et al., 2001). This suggests a single introduction of SpltNPV into Pakistan. The SpltNPV-PAK isolates are distinct from Spodoptera littoralis nucleopolyhedrovirus. There was a strong correlation between geographic spread and the genetic variation of SpltNPV, and a marginally significant correlation between the latter and the cropping system. The faster killing isolates may be good candidates for biological control of S. litura in Pakistan. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Analysis of the Aedes albopictus C6/36 genome provides insight into cell line utility for viral propagation.

The 50-year-old Aedes albopictus C6/36 cell line is a resource for the detection, amplification, and analysis of mosquito-borne viruses including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. The cell line is derived from an unknown number of larvae from an unspecified strain of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Toward improved utility of the cell line for research in virus transmission, we present an annotated assembly of the C6/36 genome.The C6/36 genome assembly has the largest contig N50 (3.3 Mbp) of any mosquito assembly, presents the sequences of both haplotypes for most of the diploid genome, reveals independent null mutations in both alleles of the Dicer locus, and indicates a male-specific genome. Gene annotation was computed with publicly available mosquito transcript sequences. Gene expression data from cell line RNA sequence identified enrichment of growth-related pathways and conspicuous deficiency in aquaporins and inward rectifier K+ channels. As a test of utility, RNA sequence data from Zika-infected cells were mapped to the C6/36 genome and transcriptome assemblies. Host subtraction reduced the data set by 89%, enabling faster characterization of nonhost reads.The C6/36 genome sequence and annotation should enable additional uses of the cell line to study arbovirus vector interactions and interventions aimed at restricting the spread of human disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-read genome sequence and assembly of Leptopilina boulardi: a specialist Drosophila parasitoid

Background: Leptopilina boulardi is a specialist parasitoid belonging to the order Hymenoptera, which attacks the larval stages of Drosophila. The Leptopilina genus has enormous value in the biological control of pests as well as in understanding several aspects of host-parasitoid biology. However, none of the members of Figitidae family has their genomes sequenced. In order to improve the understanding of the parasitoid wasps by generating genomic resources, we sequenced the whole genome of L. boulardi. Findings: Here, we report a high quality genome of L. boulardi, assembled from 70Gb of Illumina reads and 10.5Gb of PacBio reads, forming a total coverage of 230X. The 375Mb draft genome has an N50 of 275Kb with 6315 scaffolds >500bp, and encompasses >95% complete BUSCOs. The GC% of the genome is 28.26%, and RepeatMasker identified 868105 repeat elements covering 43.9% of the assembly. A total of 25259 protein-coding genes were predicted using a combination of ab-initio and RNA-Seq based methods, with an average gene size of 3.9Kb. 78.11% of the predicted genes could be annotated with at least one function. Conclusion: Our study provides a highly reliable assembly of this parasitoid wasp, which will be a valuable resource to researchers studying parasitoids. In particular, it can help delineate the host-parasitoid mechanisms that are part of the Drosophila-Leptopilina model system.


September 22, 2019  |  

Double insertion of transposable elements provides a substrate for the evolution of satellite DNA.

Eukaryotic genomes are replete with repeated sequences in the form of transposable elements (TEs) dispersed across the genome or as satellite arrays, large stretches of tandemly repeated sequences. Many satellites clearly originated as TEs, but it is unclear how mobile genetic parasites can transform into megabase-sized tandem arrays. Comprehensive population genomic sampling is needed to determine the frequency and generative mechanisms of tandem TEs, at all stages from their initial formation to their subsequent expansion and maintenance as satellites. The best available population resources, short-read DNA sequences, are often considered to be of limited utility for analyzing repetitive DNA due to the challenge of mapping individual repeats to unique genomic locations. Here we develop a new pipeline called ConTExt that demonstrates that paired-end Illumina data can be successfully leveraged to identify a wide range of structural variation within repetitive sequence, including tandem elements. By analyzing 85 genomes from five populations of Drosophila melanogaster, we discover that TEs commonly form tandem dimers. Our results further suggest that insertion site preference is the major mechanism by which dimers arise and that, consequently, dimers form rapidly during periods of active transposition. This abundance of TE dimers has the potential to provide source material for future expansion into satellite arrays, and we discover one such copy number expansion of the DNA transposon hobo to approximately 16 tandem copies in a single line. The very process that defines TEs-transposition-thus regularly generates sequences from which new satellites can arise.© 2018 McGurk and Barbash; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

A whole genome assembly of the horn fly, Haematobia irritans, and prediction of genes with roles in metabolism and sex determination.

Haematobia irritans, commonly known as the horn fly, is a globally distributed blood-feeding pest of cattle that is responsible for significant economic losses to cattle producers. Chemical insecticides are the primary means for controlling this pest but problems with insecticide resistance have become common in the horn fly. To provide a foundation for identification of genomic loci for insecticide resistance and for discovery of new control technology, we report the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the horn fly genome. The assembled genome is 1.14 Gb, comprising 76,616 scaffolds with N50 scaffold length of 23 Kb. Using RNA-Seq data, we have predicted 34,413 gene models of which 19,185 have been assigned functional annotations. Comparative genomics analysis with the Dipteran flies Musca domestica L., Drosophila melanogaster, and Lucilia cuprina, show that the horn fly is most closely related to M. domestica, sharing 8,748 orthologous clusters followed by D. melanogaster and L. cuprina, sharing 7,582 and 7,490 orthologous clusters respectively. We also identified a gene locus for the sodium channel protein in which mutations have been previously reported that confers target site resistance to the most common class of pesticides used in fly control. Additionally, we identified 276 genomic loci encoding members of metabolic enzyme gene families such as cytochrome P450s, esterases and glutathione S-transferases, and several genes orthologous to sex determination pathway genes in other Dipteran species. Copyright © 2018 Konganti et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multiple large inversions and breakpoint rewiring of gene expression in the evolution of the fire ant social supergene.

Supergenes consist of co-adapted loci that segregate together and are associated with adaptive traits. In the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, two ‘social’ supergene variants regulate differences in colony queen number and other traits. Suppressed recombination in this system is maintained, in part, by a greater than 9 Mb inversion, but the supergene is larger. Has the supergene in S. invicta undergone multiple large inversions? The initial gene content of the inverted allele of a supergene would be the same as that of the wild-type allele. So, how did the inversion increase in frequency? To address these questions, we cloned one extreme breakpoint in the fire ant supergene. In doing so, we found a second large (greater than 800 Kb) rearrangement. Furthermore, we determined the temporal order of the two big inversions based on the translocation pattern of a third small fragment. Because the S. invicta supergene lacks evolutionary strata, our finding of multiple inversions may support an introgression model of the supergene. Finally, we showed that one of the inversions swapped the promoter of a breakpoint-adjacent gene, which might have conferred a selective advantage relative to the non-inverted allele. Our findings provide a rare example of gene alterations arising directly from an inversion event.© 2018 The Author(s).


September 22, 2019  |  

Extensive exchange of transposable elements in the Drosophila pseudoobscura group.

As species diverge, so does their transposable element (TE) content. Within a genome, TE families may eventually become dormant due to host-silencing mechanisms, natural selection and the accumulation of inactive copies. The transmission of active copies from a TE families, both vertically and horizontally between species, can allow TEs to escape inactivation if it occurs often enough, as it may allow TEs to temporarily escape silencing in a new host. Thus, the contribution of horizontal exchange to TE persistence has been of increasing interest.Here, we annotated TEs in five species with sequenced genomes from the D. pseudoobscura species group, and curated a set of TE families found in these species. We found that, compared to host genes, many TE families showed lower neutral divergence between species, consistent with recent transmission of TEs between species. Despite these transfers, there are differences in the TE content between species in the group.The TE content is highly dynamic in the D. pseudoobscura species group, frequently transferring between species, keeping TEs active. This result highlights how frequently transposable elements are transmitted between sympatric species and, despite these transfers, how rapidly species TE content can diverge.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recurrent symbiont recruitment from fungal parasites in cicadas.

Diverse insects are associated with ancient bacterial symbionts, whose genomes have often suffered drastic reduction and degeneration. In extreme cases, such symbiont genomes seem almost unable to sustain the basic cellular functioning, which comprises an open question in the evolution of symbiosis. Here, we report an insect group wherein an ancient symbiont lineage suffering massive genome erosion has experienced recurrent extinction and replacement by host-associated pathogenic microbes. Cicadas are associated with the ancient bacterial co-obligate symbionts Sulcia and Hodgkinia, whose streamlined genomes are specialized for synthesizing essential amino acids, thereby enabling the host to live on plant sap. However, our inspection of 24 Japanese cicada species revealed that while all species possessed Sulcia, only nine species retained Hodgkinia, and their genomes exhibited substantial structural instability. The remaining 15 species lacked Hodgkinia and instead harbored yeast-like fungal symbionts. Detailed phylogenetic analyses uncovered repeated Hodgkinia-fungus and fungus-fungus replacements in cicadas. The fungal symbionts were phylogenetically intermingled with cicada-parasitizing Ophiocordyceps fungi, identifying entomopathogenic origins of the fungal symbionts. Most fungal symbionts of cicadas were uncultivable, but the fungal symbiont of Meimuna opalifera was cultivable, possibly because it is at an early stage of fungal symbiont replacement. Genome sequencing of the fungal symbiont revealed its metabolic versatility, presumably capable of synthesizing almost all amino acids, vitamins, and other metabolites, which is more than sufficient to compensate for the Hodgkinia loss. These findings highlight a straightforward ecological and evolutionary connection between parasitism and symbiosis, which may provide an evolutionary trajectory to renovate deteriorated ancient symbiosis via pathogen domestication. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly of a young Drosophila Y chromosome using single-molecule sequencing and chromatin conformation capture.

While short-read sequencing technology has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of species with genome assemblies, these assemblies are typically highly fragmented. Repeats pose the largest challenge for reference genome assembly, and pericentromeric regions and the repeat-rich Y chromosome are typically ignored from sequencing projects. Here, we assemble the genome of Drosophila miranda using long reads for contig formation, chromatin interaction maps for scaffolding and short reads, and optical mapping and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone sequencing for consensus validation. Our assembly recovers entire chromosomes and contains large fractions of repetitive DNA, including about 41.5 Mb of pericentromeric and telomeric regions, and >100 Mb of the recently formed highly repetitive neo-Y chromosome. While Y chromosome evolution is typically characterized by global sequence loss and shrinkage, the neo-Y increased in size by almost 3-fold because of the accumulation of repetitive sequences. Our high-quality assembly allows us to reconstruct the chromosomal events that have led to the unusual sex chromosome karyotype in D. miranda, including the independent de novo formation of a pair of sex chromosomes at two distinct time points, or the reversion of a former Y chromosome to an autosome.


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