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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Meeting report: 31st International Mammalian Genome Conference, Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications.

High on the Heidelberg hills, inside the Advanced Training Centre of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus with its unique double-helix staircase, scientists gathered for the EMBL conference “Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications,” organized in cooperation with the International Mammalian Genome Society (IMGS) and the Mouse Molecular Genetics (MMG) group. The conference attracted 205 participants from 30 countries, representing 6 of the 7 continents-all except Antarctica. It was a richly diverse group of geneticists, clinicians, and bioinformaticians, with presentations by established and junior investigators, including many trainees. From the 24th-27th of October 2017, they…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

PCR and omics based techniques to study the diversity, ecology and biology of anaerobic fungi: Insights, challenges andopportunities.

Anaerobic fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) are common inhabitants of the digestive tract of mammalian herbivores, and in the rumen, can account for up to 20% of the microbial biomass. Anaerobic fungi play a primary role in the degradation of lignocellulosic plant material. They also have a syntrophic interaction with methanogenic archaea, which increases their fiber degradation activity. To date, nine anaerobic fungal genera have been described, with further novel taxonomic groupings known to exist based on culture-independent molecular surveys. However, the true extent of their diversity may be even more extensively underestimated as anaerobic fungi continue being discovered in yet unexplored…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sequence of the sugar pine megagenome.

Until very recently, complete characterization of the megagenomes of conifers has remained elusive. The diploid genome of sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Dougl.) has a highly repetitive, 31 billion bp genome. It is the largest genome sequenced and assembled to date, and the first from the subgenus Strobus, or white pines, a group that is notable for having the largest genomes among the pines. The genome represents a unique opportunity to investigate genome “obesity” in conifers and white pines. Comparative analysis of P. lambertiana and P. taeda L. reveals new insights on the conservation, age, and diversity of the highly abundant transposable elements,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Long-read sequencing and de novo assembly of a Chinese genome.

Short-read sequencing has enabled the de novo assembly of several individual human genomes, but with inherent limitations in characterizing repeat elements. Here we sequence a Chinese individual HX1 by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) long-read sequencing, construct a physical map by NanoChannel arrays and generate a de novo assembly of 2.93?Gb (contig N50: 8.3?Mb, scaffold N50: 22.0?Mb, including 39.3?Mb N-bases), together with 206?Mb of alternative haplotypes. The assembly fully or partially fills 274 (28.4%) N-gaps in the reference genome GRCh38. Comparison to GRCh38 reveals 12.8?Mb of HX1-specific sequences, including 4.1?Mb that are not present in previously reported Asian genomes. Furthermore, long-read sequencing…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Retention of seed trees fails to lifeboat ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity in harvested Scots pine forests.

Fennoscandian forestry has in the past decades changed from natural regeneration of forests towards replantation of clear-cuts, which negatively impacts ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) diversity. Retention of trees during harvesting enables EMF survival, and we therefore expected EMF communities to be more similar to those in old natural stands after forest regeneration using seed trees compared to full clear-cutting and replanting. We sequenced fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) amplicons to assess EMF communities in 10- to 60-year-old Scots pine stands regenerated either using seed trees or through replanting of clear-cuts with old natural stands as reference. We also investigated local…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Characterization of the dynamic transcriptome of a herpesvirus with long-read Single Molecule Real-Time Sequencing.

Herpesvirus gene expression is co-ordinately regulated and sequentially ordered during productive infection. The viral genes can be classified into three distinct kinetic groups: immediate-early, early, and late classes. In this study, a massively parallel sequencing technique that is based on PacBio Single Molecule Real-time sequencing platform, was used for quantifying the poly(A) fraction of the lytic transcriptome of pseudorabies virus (PRV) throughout a 12-hour interval of productive infection on PK-15 cells. Other approaches, including microarray, real-time RT-PCR and Illumina sequencing are capable of detecting only the aggregate transcriptional activity of particular genomic regions, but not individual herpesvirus transcripts. However, SMRT…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The small peptide world in long noncoding RNAs.

Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a group of transcripts that are longer than 200 nucleotides (nt) without coding potential. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of novel lncRNAs have been annotated in animal and plant genomes because of advanced high-throughput RNA sequencing technologies and with the aid of coding transcript classifiers. Further, a considerable number of reports have revealed the existence of stable, functional small peptides (also known as micropeptides), translated from lncRNAs. In this review, we discuss the methods of lncRNA classification, the investigations regarding their coding potential and the functional significance of the peptides they encode.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Novel full-length major histocompatibility complex class I allele discovery and haplotype definition in pig-tailed macaques.

Pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina, Mane) are important models for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) studies. Their infectability with minimally modified HIV makes them a uniquely valuable animal model to mimic human infection with HIV and progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, variation in the pig-tailed macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the impact of individual transcripts on the pathogenesis of HIV and other infectious diseases is understudied compared to that of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. In this study, we used Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing to describe full-length MHC class I (MHC-I) transcripts for 194 pig-tailed macaques from…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genomic and functional landscapes of developmental plasticity in the American cockroach.

Many cockroach species have adapted to urban environments, and some have been serious pests of public health in the tropics and subtropics. Here, we present the 3.38-Gb genome and a consensus gene set of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. We report insights from both genomic and functional investigations into the underlying basis of its adaptation to urban environments and developmental plasticity. In comparison with other insects, expansions of gene families in P. americana exist for most core gene families likely associated with environmental adaptation, such as chemoreception and detoxification. Multiple pathways regulating metamorphic development are well conserved, and RNAi experiments…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Functional mitochondria in health and disease.

The ability to rapidly adapt cellular bioenergetic capabilities to meet rapidly changing environmental conditions is mandatory for normal cellular function and for cancer progression. Any loss of this adaptive response has the potential to compromise cellular function and render the cell more susceptible to external stressors such as oxidative stress, radiation, chemotherapeutic drugs, and hypoxia. Mitochondria play a vital role in bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways and can rapidly adjust to meet the metabolic needs of the cell. Increased demand is met by mitochondrial biogenesis and fusion of individual mitochondria into dynamic networks, whereas a decrease in demand results in the…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A human-specific switch of alternatively spliced AFMID isoforms contributes to TP53 mutations and tumor recurrence in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Pre-mRNA splicing can contribute to the switch of cell identity that occurs in carcinogenesis. Here, we analyze a large collection of RNA-seq data sets and report that splicing changes in hepatocyte-specific enzymes, such as AFMID and KHK, are associated with HCC patients’ survival and relapse. The switch of AFMID isoforms is an early event in HCC development and is associated with driver mutations in TP53 and ARID1A The switch of AFMID isoforms is human-specific and not detectable in other species, including primates. Finally, we show that overexpression of the full-length AFMID isoform leads to a higher NAD+ level, lower DNA-damage…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Avian genomics lends insights into endocrine function in birds.

The genomics era has brought along the completed sequencing of a large number of bird genomes that cover a broad range of the avian phylogenetic tree (>30 orders), leading to major novel insights into avian biology and evolution. Among recent findings, the discovery that birds lack a large number of protein coding genes that are organized in highly conserved syntenic clusters in other vertebrates is very intriguing, given the physiological importance of many of these genes. A considerable number of them play prominent endocrine roles, suggesting that birds evolved compensatory genetic or physiological mechanisms that allowed them to survive and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A new standard for crustacean genomes: The highly contiguous, annotated genome assembly of the clam shrimp Eulimnadia texana reveals HOX gene order and identifies the sex chromosome.

Vernal pool clam shrimp (Eulimnadia texana) are a promising model system due to their ease of lab culture, short generation time, modest sized genome, a somewhat rare stable androdioecious sex determination system, and a requirement to reproduce via desiccated diapaused eggs. We generated a highly contiguous genome assembly using 46× of PacBio long read data and 216× of Illumina short reads, and annotated using Illumina RNAseq obtained from adult males or hermaphrodites. Of the 120?Mb genome 85% is contained in the largest eight contigs, the smallest of which is 4.6?Mb. The assembly contains 98% of transcripts predicted via RNAseq. This…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vertebrate genome evolution in the light of fish cytogenomics and rDNAomics.

To understand the cytogenomic evolution of vertebrates, we must first unravel the complex genomes of fishes, which were the first vertebrates to evolve and were ancestors to all other vertebrates. We must not forget the immense time span during which the fish genomes had to evolve. Fish cytogenomics is endowed with unique features which offer irreplaceable insights into the evolution of the vertebrate genome. Due to the general DNA base compositional homogeneity of fish genomes, fish cytogenomics is largely based on mapping DNA repeats that still represent serious obstacles in genome sequencing and assembling, even in model species. Localization of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative genomics and transcriptomics analysis-guided metabolic engineering of Propionibacterium acidipropionici for improved propionic acid production.

Acid stress induced by the accumulation of organic acids during the fermentation of propionibacteria is a severe limitation in the microbial production of propionic acid (PA). To enhance the acid resistance of strains, the tolerance mechanisms of cells must first be understood. In this study, comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses were conducted on wild-type and acid-tolerant Propionibacterium acidipropionici to reveal the microbial response of cells to acid stress during fermentation. Combined with the results of previous proteomic and metabolomic studies, several potential acid-resistance mechanisms of P. acidipropionici were analyzed. Energy metabolism and transporter activity of cells were regulated to maintain…

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