July 19, 2019  |  

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to “phase 3 finished” status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes, we present here an automated approach to finishing using long-reads from the Pacific Biosciences RS (PacBio) platform. Our algorithm and associated software tool, PBJelly, (publicly available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/pb-jelly/) automates the finishing process using long sequence reads in a reference-guided assembly process. PBJelly also provides “lift-over” co-ordinate tables to easily port existing annotations to the upgraded assembly. Using PBJelly and long PacBio reads, we upgraded the draft genome sequences of a simulated Drosophila melanogaster, the version 2 draft Drosophila pseudoobscura, an assembly of the Assemblathon 2.0 budgerigar dataset, and a preliminary assembly of the Sooty mangabey. With 24× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads, we addressed 99% of gaps and were able to close 69% and improve 12% of all gaps in D. pseudoobscura. With 4× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads we saw reads address 63% of gaps in our budgerigar assembly, of which 32% were closed and 63% improved. With 6.8× mapped coverage of mangabey PacBio long-reads we addressed 97% of gaps and closed 66% of addressed gaps and improved 19%. The accuracy of gap closure was validated by comparison to Sanger sequencing on gaps from the original D. pseudoobscura draft assembly and shown to be dependent on initial reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparison of single-molecule sequencing and hybrid approaches for finishing the genome of Clostridium autoethanogenum and analysis of CRISPR systems in industrial relevant Clostridia.

Clostridium autoethanogenum strain JA1-1 (DSM 10061) is an acetogen capable of fermenting CO, CO2 and H2 (e.g. from syngas or waste gases) into biofuel ethanol and commodity chemicals such as 2,3-butanediol. A draft genome sequence consisting of 100 contigs has been published.A closed, high-quality genome sequence for C. autoethanogenum DSM10061 was generated using only the latest single-molecule DNA sequencing technology and without the need for manual finishing. It is assigned to the most complex genome classification based upon genome features such as repeats, prophage, nine copies of the rRNA gene operons. It has a low G + C content of 31.1%. Illumina, 454, Illumina/454 hybrid assemblies were generated and then compared to the draft and PacBio assemblies using summary statistics, CGAL, QUAST and REAPR bioinformatics tools and comparative genomic approaches. Assemblies based upon shorter read DNA technologies were confounded by the large number repeats and their size, which in the case of the rRNA gene operons were ~5 kb. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Paloindromic Repeats) systems among biotechnologically relevant Clostridia were classified and related to plasmid content and prophages. Potential associations between plasmid content and CRISPR systems may have implications for historical industrial scale Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol (ABE) fermentation failures and future large scale bacterial fermentations. While C. autoethanogenum contains an active CRISPR system, no such system is present in the closely related Clostridium ljungdahlii DSM 13528. A common prophage inserted into the Arg-tRNA shared between the strains suggests a common ancestor. However, C. ljungdahlii contains several additional putative prophages and it has more than double the amount of prophage DNA compared to C. autoethanogenum. Other differences include important metabolic genes for central metabolism (as an additional hydrogenase and the absence of a phophoenolpyruvate synthase) and substrate utilization pathway (mannose and aromatics utilization) that might explain phenotypic differences between C. autoethanogenum and C. ljungdahlii.Single molecule sequencing will be increasingly used to produce finished microbial genomes. The complete genome will facilitate comparative genomics and functional genomics and support future comparisons between Clostridia and studies that examine the evolution of plasmids, bacteriophage and CRISPR systems.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative analysis of tandem repeats from hundreds of species reveals unique insights into centromere evolution.

Centromeres are essential for chromosome segregation, yet their DNA sequences evolve rapidly. In most animals and plants that have been studied, centromeres contain megabase-scale arrays of tandem repeats. Despite their importance, very little is known about the degree to which centromere tandem repeats share common properties between different species across different phyla. We used bioinformatic methods to identify high-copy tandem repeats from 282 species using publicly available genomic sequence and our own data.Our methods are compatible with all current sequencing technologies. Long Pacific Biosciences sequence reads allowed us to find tandem repeat monomers up to 1,419 bp. We assumed that the most abundant tandem repeat is the centromere DNA, which was true for most species whose centromeres have been previously characterized, suggesting this is a general property of genomes. High-copy centromere tandem repeats were found in almost all animal and plant genomes, but repeat monomers were highly variable in sequence composition and length. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of sequence homology showed little evidence of sequence conservation beyond approximately 50 million years of divergence. We find that despite an overall lack of sequence conservation, centromere tandem repeats from diverse species showed similar modes of evolution.While centromere position in most eukaryotes is epigenetically determined, our results indicate that tandem repeats are highly prevalent at centromeres of both animal and plant genomes. This suggests a functional role for such repeats, perhaps in promoting concerted evolution of centromere DNA across chromosomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Advantages of Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing in high-GC content genomes.

Next-generation sequencing has become the most widely used sequencing technology in genomics research, but it has inherent drawbacks when dealing with high-GC content genomes. Recently, single-molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was introduced as a third-generation sequencing strategy to compensate for this drawback. Here, we report that the unbiased and longer read length of SMRT sequencing markedly improved genome assembly with high GC content via gap filling and repeat resolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Efficient and accurate whole genome assembly and methylome profiling of E. coli.

With the price of next generation sequencing steadily decreasing, bacterial genome assembly is now accessible to a wide range of researchers. It is therefore necessary to understand the best methods for generating a genome assembly, specifically, which combination of sequencing and bioinformatics strategies result in the most accurate assemblies. Here, we sequence three E. coli strains on the Illumina MiSeq, Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM, and Pacific Biosciences RS. We then perform genome assemblies on all three datasets alone or in combination to determine the best methods for the assembly of bacterial genomes.Three E. coli strains – BL21(DE3), Bal225, and DH5a – were sequenced to a depth of 100× on the MiSeq and Ion Torrent machines and to at least 125× on the PacBio RS. Four assembly methods were examined and compared. The previously published BL21(DE3) genome [GenBank:AM946981.2], allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of each of the BL21(DE3) assemblies. BL21(DE3) PacBio-only assemblies resulted in a 90% reduction in contigs versus short read only assemblies, while N50 numbers increased by over 7-fold. Strikingly, the number of SNPs in PacBio-only assemblies were less than half that seen with short read assemblies (~20 SNPs vs. ~50 SNPs) and indels also saw dramatic reductions (~2 indel >5 bp in PacBio-only assemblies vs. ~12 for short-read only assemblies). Assemblies that used a mixture of PacBio and short read data generally fell in between these two extremes. Use of PacBio sequencing reads also allowed us to call covalent base modifications for the three strains. Each of the strains used here had a known covalent base modification genotype, which was confirmed by PacBio sequencing.Using data generated solely from the Pacific Biosciences RS, we were able to generate the most complete and accurate de novo assemblies of E. coli strains. We found that the addition of other sequencing technology data offered no improvements over use of PacBio data alone. In addition, the sequencing data from the PacBio RS allowed for sensitive and specific calling of covalent base modifications.


July 19, 2019  |  

Landscape of standing variation for tandem duplications in Drosophila yakuba and Drosophila simulans.

We have used whole genome paired-end Illumina sequence data to identify tandem duplications in 20 isofemale lines of Drosophila yakuba and 20 isofemale lines of D. simulans and performed genome wide validation with PacBio long molecule sequencing. We identify 1,415 tandem duplications that are segregating in D. yakuba as well as 975 duplications in D. simulans, indicating greater variation in D. yakuba. Additionally, we observe high rates of secondary deletions at duplicated sites, with 8% of duplicated sites in D. simulans and 17% of sites in D. yakuba modified with deletions. These secondary deletions are consistent with the action of the large loop mismatch repair system acting to remove polymorphic tandem duplication, resulting in rapid dynamics of gain and loss in duplicated alleles and a richer substrate of genetic novelty than has been previously reported. Most duplications are present in only single strains, suggesting that deleterious impacts are common. Drosophila simulans shows larger numbers of whole gene duplications in comparison to larger proportions of gene fragments in D. yakuba. Drosophila simulans displays an excess of high-frequency variants on the X chromosome, consistent with adaptive evolution through duplications on the D. simulans X or demographic forces driving duplicates to high frequency. We identify 78 chimeric genes in D. yakuba and 38 chimeric genes in D. simulans, as well as 143 cases of recruited noncoding sequence in D. yakuba and 96 in D. simulans, in agreement with rates of chimeric gene origination in D. melanogaster. Together, these results suggest that tandem duplications often result in complex variation beyond whole gene duplications that offers a rich substrate of standing variation that is likely to contribute both to detrimental phenotypes and disease, as well as to adaptive evolutionary change. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Error correction and assembly complexity of single molecule sequencing reads.

Third generation single molecule sequencing technology is poised to revolutionize genomics by en- abling the sequencing of long, individual molecules of DNA and RNA. These technologies now routinely produce reads exceeding 5,000 basepairs, and can achieve reads as long as 50,000 basepairs. Here we evaluate the limits of single molecule sequencing by assessing the impact of long read sequencing in the assembly of the human genome and 25 other important genomes across the tree of life. From this, we develop a new data-driven model using support vector regression that can accurately predict assembly performance. We also present a novel hybrid error correction algorithm for long PacBio sequencing reads that uses pre-assembled Illumina sequences for the error correction. We apply it several prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, and show it can achieve near-perfect assemblies of small genomes (< 100Mbp) and substantially improved assemblies of larger ones. All source code and the assembly model are available open-source.


July 19, 2019  |  

Performance comparison of second- and third-generation sequencers using a bacterial genome with two chromosomes.

The availability of diverse second- and third-generation sequencing technologies enables the rapid determination of the sequences of bacterial genomes. However, identifying the sequencing technology most suitable for producing a finished genome with multiple chromosomes remains a challenge. We evaluated the abilities of the following three second-generation sequencers: Roche 454 GS Junior (GS Jr), Life Technologies Ion PGM (Ion PGM), and Illumina MiSeq (MiSeq) and a third-generation sequencer, the Pacific Biosciences RS sequencer (PacBio), by sequencing and assembling the genome of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which consists of a 5-Mb genome comprising two circular chromosomes. We sequenced the genome of V. parahaemolyticus with GS Jr, Ion PGM, MiSeq, and PacBio and performed de novo assembly with several genome assemblers. Although GS Jr generated the longest mean read length of 418 bp among the second-generation sequencers, the maximum contig length of the best assembly from GS Jr was 165 kbp, and the number of contigs was 309. Single runs of Ion PGM and MiSeq produced data of considerably greater sequencing coverage, 279× and 1,927×, respectively. The optimized result for Ion PGM contained 61 contigs assembled from reads of 77× coverage, and the longest contig was 895 kbp in size. Those for MiSeq were 34 contigs, 58×?coverage, and 733 kbp, respectively. These results suggest that higher coverage depth is unnecessary for a better assembly result. We observed that multiple rRNA coding regions were fragmented in the assemblies from the second-generation sequencers, whereas PacBio generated two exceptionally long contigs of 3,288,561 and 1,875,537 bps, each of which was from a single chromosome, with 73× coverage and mean read length 3,119 bp, allowing us to determine the absolute positions of all rRNA operons. PacBio outperformed the other sequencers in terms of the length of contigs and reconstructed the greatest portion of the genome, achieving a genome assembly of “finished grade” because of its long reads. It showed the potential to assemble more complex genomes with multiple chromosomes containing more repetitive sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

An evaluation of the PacBio RS platform for sequencing and de novo assembly of a chloroplast genome.

Second generation sequencing has permitted detailed sequence characterisation at the whole genome level of a growing number of non-model organisms, but the data produced have short read-lengths and biased genome coverage leading to fragmented genome assemblies. The PacBio RS long-read sequencing platform offers the promise of increased read length and unbiased genome coverage and thus the potential to produce genome sequence data of a finished quality containing fewer gaps and longer contigs. However, these advantages come at a much greater cost per nucleotide and with a perceived increase in error-rate. In this investigation, we evaluated the performance of the PacBio RS sequencing platform through the sequencing and de novo assembly of the Potentilla micrantha chloroplast genome.Following error-correction, a total of 28,638 PacBio RS reads were recovered with a mean read length of 1,902 bp totalling 54,492,250 nucleotides and representing an average depth of coverage of 320× the chloroplast genome. The dataset covered the entire 154,959 bp of the chloroplast genome in a single contig (100% coverage) compared to seven contigs (90.59% coverage) recovered from an Illumina data, and revealed no bias in coverage of GC rich regions. Post-assembly the data were largely concordant with the Illumina data generated and allowed 187 ambiguities in the Illumina data to be resolved. The additional read length also permitted small differences in the two inverted repeat regions to be assigned unambiguously.This is the first report to our knowledge of a chloroplast genome assembled de novo using PacBio sequence data. The PacBio RS data generated here were assembled into a single large contig spanning the P. micrantha chloroplast genome, with a higher degree of accuracy than an Illumina dataset generated at a much greater depth of coverage, due to longer read lengths and lower GC bias in the data. The results we present suggest PacBio data will be of immense utility for the development of genome sequence assemblies containing fewer unresolved gaps and ambiguities and a significantly smaller number of contigs than could be produced using short-read sequence data alone.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing and genome assembly of a clinical specimen of Loa loa, the causative agent of loiasis.

More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries.Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts.The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Full-length haplotype reconstruction to infer the structure of heterogeneous virus populations.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies enable new insights into the diversity of virus populations within their hosts. Diversity estimation is currently restricted to single-nucleotide variants or to local fragments of no more than a few hundred nucleotides defined by the length of sequence reads. To study complex heterogeneous virus populations comprehensively, novel methods are required that allow for complete reconstruction of the individual viral haplotypes. Here, we show that assembly of whole viral genomes of ~8600 nucleotides length is feasible from mixtures of heterogeneous HIV-1 strains derived from defined combinations of cloned virus strains and from clinical samples of an HIV-1 superinfected individual. Haplotype reconstruction was achieved using optimized experimental protocols and computational methods for amplification, sequencing and assembly. We comparatively assessed the performance of the three NGS platforms 454 Life Sciences/Roche, Illumina and Pacific Biosciences for this task. Our results prove and delineate the feasibility of NGS-based full-length viral haplotype reconstruction and provide new tools for studying evolution and pathogenesis of viruses.© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

REBASE–a database for DNA restriction and modification: enzymes, genes and genomes.

REBASE is a comprehensive and fully curated database of information about the components of restriction-modification (RM) systems. It contains fully referenced information about recognition and cleavage sites for both restriction enzymes and methyltransferases as well as commercial availability, methylation sensitivity, crystal and sequence data. All genomes that are completely sequenced are analyzed for RM system components, and with the advent of PacBio sequencing, the recognition sequences of DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are appearing rapidly. Thus, Type I and Type III systems can now be characterized in terms of recognition specificity merely by DNA sequencing. The contents of REBASE may be browsed from the web http://rebase.neb.com and selected compilations can be downloaded by FTP (ftp.neb.com). Monthly updates are also available via email. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single haplotype assembly of the human genome from a hydatidiform mole.

A complete reference assembly is essential for accurately interpreting individual genomes and associating variation with phenotypes. While the current human reference genome sequence is of very high quality, gaps and misassemblies remain due to biological and technical complexities. Large repetitive sequences and complex allelic diversity are the two main drivers of assembly error. Although increasing the length of sequence reads and library fragments can improve assembly, even the longest available reads do not resolve all regions. In order to overcome the issue of allelic diversity, we used genomic DNA from an essentially haploid hydatidiform mole, CHM1. We utilized several resources from this DNA including a set of end-sequenced and indexed BAC clones and 100× Illumina whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequence coverage. We used the WGS sequence and the GRCh37 reference assembly to create an assembly of the CHM1 genome. We subsequently incorporated 382 finished BAC clone sequences to generate a draft assembly, CHM1_1.1 (NCBI AssemblyDB GCA_000306695.2). Analysis of gene, repetitive element, and segmental duplication content show this assembly to be of excellent quality and contiguity. However, comparison to assembly-independent resources, such as BAC clone end sequences and PacBio long reads, indicate misassembled regions. Most of these regions are enriched for structural variation and segmental duplication, and can be resolved in the future. This publicly available assembly will be integrated into the Genome Reference Consortium curation framework for further improvement, with the ultimate goal being a completely finished gap-free assembly. © 2014 Steinberg et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 19, 2019  |  

One chromosome, one contig: complete microbial genomes from long-read sequencing and assembly.

Like a jigsaw puzzle with large pieces, a genome sequenced with long reads is easier to assemble. However, recent sequencing technologies have favored lowering per-base cost at the expense of read length. This has dramatically reduced sequencing cost, but resulted in fragmented assemblies, which negatively affect downstream analyses and hinder the creation of finished (gapless, high-quality) genomes. In contrast, emerging long-read sequencing technologies can now produce reads tens of kilobases in length, enabling the automated finishing of microbial genomes for under $1000. This promises to improve the quality of reference databases and facilitate new studies of chromosomal structure and variation. We present an overview of these new technologies and the methods used to assemble long reads into complete genomes. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparison of genome sequencing technology and assembly methods for the analysis of a GC-rich bacterial genome.

Improvements in technology and decreases in price have made de novo bacterial genomic sequencing a reality for many researchers, but it has created a need to evaluate the methods for generating a complete and accurate genome assembly. We sequenced the GC-rich Caulobacter henricii genome using the Illumina MiSeq, Roche 454, and Pacific Biosciences RS II sequencing systems. To generate a complete genome sequence, we performed assemblies using eight readily available programs and found that builds using the Illumina MiSeq and the Roche 454 data produced accurate yet numerous contigs. SPAdes performed the best followed by PANDAseq. In contrast, the Celera assembler produced a single genomic contig using the Pacific Biosciences data after error correction with the Illumina MiSeq data. In addition, we duplicated this build using the Pacific Biosciences data with HGAP2.0. The accuracy of these builds was verified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of genomic DNA cut with restriction enzymes.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.