June 1, 2021  |  

Evaluating the potential of new sequencing technologies for genotyping and variation discovery in human data.

A first look at Pacific Biosciences RS data Pacific Biosciences technology provides a fundamentally new data type that provides the potential to overcome these limitations by providing significantly longer reads (now averaging >1kb), enabling more unique seeds for reference alignment. In addition, the lack of amplification in the library construction step avoids a common source of base composition bias. With these potential advantages in mind, we here evaluate the utility of the Pacific Biosciences RS platform for human medical resequencing projects by assessing the quality of the raw sequencing data, as well as its use for SNP discovery and genotyping using the Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK).


June 1, 2021  |  

HLA variant identification techniques

The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes located on chromosome 6 are responsible for regulating immune function via antigen presentation and are one of the determining factors for stem cell and organ transplantation compatibility. Additionally various alleles within this region have been implicated in autoimmune disorders, cancer, vaccine response and both non-infectious and infectious disease risk. The HLA region is highly variable; containing repetitive regions; and co-dominantly expressed genes. This complicates short read mapping and means that assessing the effect of variation within a gene requires full phase information to resolve haplotypes.One solution to the problem of HLA identification is the use of statistical inference to suggest the most likely diploid alleles given the genotypes observed. The assumption of this approach is the availability of an extensive reference panel. Whilst there exists good population genetics data for imputing European populations, there remains a paucity of information about variation in African populations. Filling this gap is one of the aims of the Genome Diversity in Africa Project and as a first step we are performing a pilot study to identify the optimal method for determining HLA type information for large numbers of samples from African populations.To that end we have obtained samples from 125 consented African participants selected from 5 populations across Africa (Morrocan, Ashanti, Igbo, Kalenjin, and Zulu). The methods included in our pilot study are Sanger sequencing (ABI), NGS on HiSeqX Ten platform (Illumina); long-range PCR combined with single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing (PacBio); and for a subset of samples library preparation on GemCode Platform (10x Genomics), which delivers valuable long range contextual information, combined with Illumina NGS sequencing.Results from capillary sequencing suggests the presence of a minimum of two novel alleles. Long Range PCR have been performed initially on a subset of samples using both primers sourced from GenDX and designed as described in Shiina et al (2012). Initial results from both primer sets were promising on Promega DNA test samples but only the GenDX primers proved effective on the African samples, producing consistently PCR products of the expected size in the Igbo, Ashanti, Morrocan and Zulu samples. We will present early results from our evaluation of the different sequencing technologies


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide selection footprints and deleterious variations in young Asian allotetraploid rapeseed.

Brassica napus (AACC, 2n = 38) is an important oilseed crop grown worldwide. However, little is known about the population evolution of this species, the genomic difference between its major genetic groups, such as European and Asian rapeseed, and the impacts of historical large-scale introgression events on this young tetraploid. In this study, we reported the de novo assembly of the genome sequences of an Asian rapeseed (B. napus), Ningyou 7, and its four progenitors and compared these genomes with other available genomic data from diverse European and Asian cultivars. Our results showed that Asian rapeseed originally derived from European rapeseed but subsequently significantly diverged, with rapid genome differentiation after hybridization and intensive local selective breeding. The first historical introgression of B. rapa dramatically broadened the allelic pool but decreased the deleterious variations of Asian rapeseed. The second historical introgression of the double-low traits of European rapeseed (canola) has reshaped Asian rapeseed into two groups (double-low and double-high), accompanied by an increase in genetic load in the double-low group. This study demonstrates distinctive genomic footprints and deleterious SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) variants for local adaptation by recent intra- and interspecies introgression events and provides novel insights for understanding the rapid genome evolution of a young allopolyploid crop. © 2019 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Relative Performance of MinION (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) versus Sequel (Pacific Biosciences) Third-Generation Sequencing Instruments in Identification of Agricultural and Forest Fungal Pathogens.

Culture-based molecular identification methods have revolutionized detection of pathogens, yet these methods are slow and may yield inconclusive results from environmental materials. The second-generation sequencing tools have much-improved precision and sensitivity of detection, but these analyses are costly and may take several days to months. Of the third-generation sequencing techniques, the portable MinION device (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) has received much attention because of its small size and possibility of rapid analysis at reasonable cost. Here, we compare the relative performances of two third-generation sequencing instruments, MinION and Sequel (Pacific Biosciences), in identification and diagnostics of fungal and oomycete pathogens from conifer (Pinaceae) needles and potato (Solanum tuberosum) leaves and tubers. We demonstrate that the Sequel instrument is efficient for metabarcoding of complex samples, whereas MinION is not suited for this purpose due to a high error rate and multiple biases. However, we find that MinION can be utilized for rapid and accurate identification of dominant pathogenic organisms and other associated organisms from plant tissues following both amplicon-based and PCR-free metagenomics approaches. Using the metagenomics approach with shortened DNA extraction and incubation times, we performed the entire MinION workflow, from sample preparation through DNA extraction, sequencing, bioinformatics, and interpretation, in 2.5 h. We advocate the use of MinION for rapid diagnostics of pathogens and potentially other organisms, but care needs to be taken to control or account for multiple potential technical biases.IMPORTANCE Microbial pathogens cause enormous losses to agriculture and forestry, but current combined culturing- and molecular identification-based detection methods are too slow for rapid identification and application of countermeasures. Here, we develop new and rapid protocols for Oxford Nanopore MinION-based third-generation diagnostics of plant pathogens that greatly improve the speed of diagnostics. However, due to high error rate and technical biases in MinION, the Pacific BioSciences Sequel platform is more useful for in-depth amplicon-based biodiversity monitoring (metabarcoding) from complex environmental samples.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Fast and accurate genomic analyses using genome graphs.

The human reference genome serves as the foundation for genomics by providing a scaffold for alignment of sequencing reads, but currently only reflects a single consensus haplotype, thus impairing analysis accuracy. Here we present a graph reference genome implementation that enables read alignment across 2,800 diploid genomes encompassing 12.6 million SNPs and 4.0 million insertions and deletions (indels). The pipeline processes one whole-genome sequencing sample in 6.5?h using a system with 36?CPU cores. We show that using a graph genome reference improves read mapping sensitivity and produces a 0.5% increase in variant calling recall, with unaffected specificity. Structural variations incorporated into a graph genome can be genotyped accurately under a unified framework. Finally, we show that iterative augmentation of graph genomes yields incremental gains in variant calling accuracy. Our implementation is an important advance toward fulfilling the promise of graph genomes to radically enhance the scalability and accuracy of genomic analyses.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative Annotation Toolkit (CAT)-simultaneous clade and personal genome annotation.

The recent introductions of low-cost, long-read, and read-cloud sequencing technologies coupled with intense efforts to develop efficient algorithms have made affordable, high-quality de novo sequence assembly a realistic proposition. The result is an explosion of new, ultracontiguous genome assemblies. To compare these genomes, we need robust methods for genome annotation. We describe the fully open source Comparative Annotation Toolkit (CAT), which provides a flexible way to simultaneously annotate entire clades and identify orthology relationships. We show that CAT can be used to improve annotations on the rat genome, annotate the great apes, annotate a diverse set of mammals, and annotate personal, diploid human genomes. We demonstrate the resulting discovery of novel genes, isoforms, and structural variants-even in genomes as well studied as rat and the great apes-and how these annotations improve cross-species RNA expression experiments.© 2018 Fiddes et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

A graph-based approach to diploid genome assembly.

Constructing high-quality haplotype-resolved de novo assemblies of diploid genomes is important for revealing the full extent of structural variation and its role in health and disease. Current assembly approaches often collapse the two sequences into one haploid consensus sequence and, therefore, fail to capture the diploid nature of the organism under study. Thus, building an assembler capable of producing accurate and complete diploid assemblies, while being resource-efficient with respect to sequencing costs, is a key challenge to be addressed by the bioinformatics community.We present a novel graph-based approach to diploid assembly, which combines accurate Illumina data and long-read Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on a pseudo-diploid yeast genome and show that we require as little as 50× coverage Illumina data and 10× PacBio data to generate accurate and complete assemblies. Additionally, we show that our approach has the ability to detect and phase structural variants.https://github.com/whatshap/whatshap.Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.


September 22, 2019  |  

Variation graph toolkit improves read mapping by representing genetic variation in the reference.

Reference genomes guide our interpretation of DNA sequence data. However, conventional linear references represent only one version of each locus, ignoring variation in the population. Poor representation of an individual’s genome sequence impacts read mapping and introduces bias. Variation graphs are bidirected DNA sequence graphs that compactly represent genetic variation across a population, including large-scale structural variation such as inversions and duplications. Previous graph genome software implementations have been limited by scalability or topological constraints. Here we present vg, a toolkit of computational methods for creating, manipulating, and using these structures as references at the scale of the human genome. vg provides an efficient approach to mapping reads onto arbitrary variation graphs using generalized compressed suffix arrays, with improved accuracy over alignment to a linear reference, and effectively removing reference bias. These capabilities make using variation graphs as references for DNA sequencing practical at a gigabase scale, or at the topological complexity of de novo assemblies.


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 non-N bases in the incorporated chromosomes is improved from 2.33?Gb in EquCab2 to 2.41?Gb in EquCab3. Contiguity has also been improved nearly 40-fold with a contig N50 of 4.5?Mb and scaffold contiguity enhanced to where all but one of the 32 chromosomes is comprised of a single scaffold.


September 21, 2019  |  

Nonhybrid, finished microbial genome assemblies from long-read SMRT sequencing data.

We present a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP) for high-quality de novo microbial genome assemblies using only a single, long-insert shotgun DNA library in conjunction with Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. Our method uses the longest reads as seeds to recruit all other reads for construction of highly accurate preassembled reads through a directed acyclic graph-based consensus procedure, which we follow with assembly using off-the-shelf long-read assemblers. In contrast to hybrid approaches, HGAP does not require highly accurate raw reads for error correction. We demonstrate efficient genome assembly for several microorganisms using as few as three SMRT Cell zero-mode waveguide arrays of sequencing and for BACs using just one SMRT Cell. Long repeat regions can be successfully resolved with this workflow. We also describe a consensus algorithm that incorporates SMRT sequencing primary quality values to produce de novo genome sequence exceeding 99.999% accuracy.


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