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 system with 2?GB RAM with negligible impact on accuracy.


April 21, 2020  |  

Assignment of virus and antimicrobial resistance genes to microbial hosts in a complex microbial community by combined long-read assembly and proximity ligation.

We describe a method that adds long-read sequencing to a mix of technologies used to assemble a highly complex cattle rumen microbial community, and provide a comparison to short read-based methods. Long-read alignments and Hi-C linkage between contigs support the identification of 188 novel virus-host associations and the determination of phage life cycle states in the rumen microbial community. The long-read assembly also identifies 94 antimicrobial resistance genes, compared to only seven alleles in the short-read assembly. We demonstrate novel techniques that work synergistically to improve characterization of biological features in a highly complex rumen microbial community.


October 23, 2019  |  

A high quality assembly of the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome reveals the structure of two sex determination regions.

Tilapias are the second most farmed fishes in the world and a sustainable source of food. Like many other fish, tilapias are sexually dimorphic and sex is a commercially important trait in these fish. In this study, we developed a significantly improved assembly of the tilapia genome using the latest genome sequencing methods and show how it improves the characterization of two sex determination regions in two tilapia species.A homozygous clonal XX female Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was sequenced to 44X coverage using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT sequencing. Dozens of candidate de novo assemblies were generated and an optimal assembly (contig NG50 of 3.3Mbp) was selected using principal component analysis of likelihood scores calculated from several paired-end sequencing libraries. Comparison of the new assembly to the previous O. niloticus genome assembly reveals that recently duplicated portions of the genome are now well represented. The overall number of genes in the new assembly increased by 27.3%, including a 67% increase in pseudogenes. The new tilapia genome assembly correctly represents two recent vasa gene duplication events that have been verified with BAC sequencing. At total of 146Mbp of additional transposable element sequence are now assembled, a large proportion of which are recent insertions. Large centromeric satellite repeats are assembled and annotated in cichlid fish for the first time. Finally, the new assembly identifies the long-range structure of both a ~9Mbp XY sex determination region on LG1 in O. niloticus, and a ~50Mbp WZ sex determination region on LG3 in the related species O. aureus.This study highlights the use of long read sequencing to correctly assemble recent duplications and to characterize repeat-filled regions of the genome. The study serves as an example of the need for high quality genome assemblies and provides a framework for identifying sex determining genes in tilapia and related fish species.


September 22, 2019  |  

wtf genes are prolific dual poison-antidote meiotic drivers.

Meiotic drivers are selfish genes that bias their transmission into gametes, defying Mendelian inheritance. Despite the significant impact of these genomic parasites on evolution and infertility, few meiotic drive loci have been identified or mechanistically characterized. Here, we demonstrate a complex landscape of meiotic drive genes on chromosome 3 of the fission yeasts Schizosaccharomyces kambucha and S. pombe. We identify S. kambucha wtf4 as one of these genes that acts to kill gametes (known as spores in yeast) that do not inherit the gene from heterozygotes. wtf4 utilizes dual, overlapping transcripts to encode both a gamete-killing poison and an antidote to the poison. To enact drive, all gametes are poisoned, whereas only those that inherit wtf4 are rescued by the antidote. Our work suggests that the wtf multigene family proliferated due to meiotic drive and highlights the power of selfish genes to shape genomes, even while imposing tremendous costs to fertility.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cataloguing over-expressed genes in Epstein Barr Virus immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines through consensus analysis of PacBio transcriptomes corroborates hypomethylation of chromosome 1

The ability of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) to transform resting cell B-cells into immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) provides a continuous source of peripheral blood lymphocytes that are used to model conditions in which these lymphocytes play a key role. Here, the PacBio generated transcriptome of three LCLs from a parent-daughter trio (SRAid:SRP036136) provided by a previous study [1] were analyzed using a kmer-based version of YeATS (KEATS). The set of over-expressed genes in these cell lines were determined based on a comparison with the PacBio transcriptome of twenty tissues pro- vided by another study (hOPTRS) [2]. MIR155 long non-coding RNA (MIR155HG), Fc fragment of IgE receptor II (FCER2), T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1A (TCL1A), and germinal center associated signaling and motility (GCSAM) were genes having the highest expression counts in the three LCLs with no expression in hOPTRS. Other over-expressed genes, having low expression in hOPTRS, were membrane spanning 4-domains A1 (MS4A1) and ribosomal protein S2 pseudogene 55 (RPS2P55). While some of these genes are known to be over-expressed in LCLs, this study provides a comprehensive cataloguing of such genes. A recent work involving a patient with EBV-positive large B-cell lymphoma was “unusually lacking various B-cell markers”, but over-expressing CD30 [3] – a gene ranked 79 among uniquely expressed genes here. Hypomethylation of chromosome 1 observed in EBV immortalized LCLs [4, 5] is also corroborated here by mapping the genes to chromosomes. Extending previous work identifying un-annotated genes [6], 80 genes were identified which are expressed in the three LCLs, not in hOPTRS, and missing in the GENCODE, RefSeq and RefSeqGene databases. KEATS introduces a method of determining expression counts based on a partitioning of the known annotated genes, has runtimes of a few hours on a personal workstation and provides detailed reports enabling proper debugging.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-read based assembly and annotation of a Drosophila simulans genome

Long-read sequencing technologies enable high-quality, contiguous genome assemblies. Here we used SMRT sequencing to assemble the genome of a Drosophila simulans strain originating from Madagascar, the ancestral range of the species. We generated 8 Gb of raw data (~50x coverage) with a mean read length of 6,410 bp, a NR50 of 9,125 bp and the longest subread at 49 kb. We benchmarked six different assemblers and merged the best two assemblies from Canu and Falcon. Our final assembly was 127.41 Mb with a N50 of 5.38 Mb and 305 contigs. We anchored more than 4 Mb of novel sequence to the major chromosome arms, and significantly improved the assembly of peri-centromeric and telomeric regions. Finally, we performed full-length transcript sequencing and used this data in conjunction with short-read RNAseq data to annotate 13,422 genes in the genome, improving the annotation in regions with complex, nested gene structures.


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 repeats on chromosomes of hundreds of fish species and populations originating from diversified environments have revealed the biological importance of this genomic fraction. Ribosomal genes (rDNA) belong to the most informative repeats and in fish, they are subject to a more relaxed regulation than in higher vertebrates. This can result in formation of a literal ‘rDNAome’ consisting of more than 20,000 copies with their high proportion employed in extra-coding functions. Because rDNA has high rates of transcription and recombination, it contributes to genome diversification and can form reproductive barrier. Our overall knowledge of fish cytogenomics grows rapidly by a continuously increasing number of fish genomes sequenced and by use of novel sequencing methods improving genome assembly. The recently revealed exceptional compositional heterogeneity in an ancient fish lineage (gars) sheds new light on the compositional genome evolution in vertebrates generally. We highlight the power of synergy of cytogenetics and genomics in fish cytogenomics, its potential to understand the complexity of genome evolution in vertebrates, which is also linked to clinical applications and the chromosomal backgrounds of speciation. We also summarize the current knowledge on fish cytogenomics and outline its main future avenues.


September 22, 2019  |  

Redkmer: An Assembly-Free Pipeline for the Identification of Abundant and Specific X-Chromosome Target Sequences for X-Shredding by CRISPR Endonucleases.

CRISPR-based synthetic sex ratio distorters, which operate by shredding the X-chromosome during male meiosis, are promising tools for the area-wide control of harmful insect pest or disease vector species. X-shredders have been proposed as tools to suppress insect populations by biasing the sex ratio of the wild population toward males, thus reducing its natural reproductive potential. However, to build synthetic X-shredders based on CRISPR, the selection of gRNA targets, in the form of high-copy sequence repeats on the X chromosome of a given species, is difficult, since such repeats are not accurately resolved in genome assemblies and cannot be assigned to chromosomes with confidence. We have therefore developed the redkmer computational pipeline, designed to identify short and highly abundant sequence elements occurring uniquely on the X chromosome. Redkmer was designed to use as input minimally processed whole genome sequence data from males and females. We tested redkmer with short- and long-read whole genome sequence data of Anopheles gambiae, the major vector of human malaria, in which the X-shredding paradigm was originally developed. Redkmer established long reads as chromosomal proxies with excellent correlation to the genome assembly and used them to rank X-candidate kmers for their level of X-specificity and abundance. Among these, a high-confidence set of 25-mers was identified, many belonging to previously known X-chromosome repeats of Anopheles gambiae, including the ribosomal gene array and the selfish elements harbored within it. Data from a control strain, in which these repeats are shared with the Y chromosome, confirmed the elimination of these kmers during filtering. Finally, we show that redkmer output can be linked directly to gRNA selection and off-target prediction. In addition, the output of redkmer, including the prediction of chromosomal origin of single-molecule long reads and chromosome specific kmers, could also be used for the characterization of other biologically relevant sex chromosome sequences, a task that is frequently hampered by the repetitiveness of sex chromosome sequence content.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cytogenomic analysis of several repetitive DNA elements in turbot (Scophthalmus maximus).

Repetitive DNA plays a fundamental role in the organization, size and evolution of eukaryotic genomes. The sequencing of the turbot revealed a small and compact genome, as in all flatfish studied to date. The assembly of repetitive regions is still incomplete because it is difficult to correctly identify their position, number and array. The combination of classical cytogenetic techniques along with high quality sequencing is essential to increase the knowledge of the structure and composition of these sequences and, thus, of the structure and function of the whole genome. In this work, the in silico analysis of H1 histone, 5S rDNA, telomeric and Rex repetitive sequences, was compared to their chromosomal mapping by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), providing a more comprehensive picture of these elements in the turbot genome. FISH assays confirmed the location of H1 in LG8; 5S rDNA in LG4 and LG6; telomeric sequences at the end of all chromosomes whereas Rex elements were dispersed along most chromosomes. The discrepancies found between both approaches could be related to the sequencing methodology applied in this species and also to the resolution limitations of the FISH technique. Turbot cytogenomic analyses have proven to add new chromosomal landmarks in the karyotype of this species, representing a powerful tool to investigate targeted genomic sequences or regions in the genetic and physical maps of this species. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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  |  

A survey of localized sequence rearrangements in human DNA.

Genomes mutate and evolve in ways simple (substitution or deletion of bases) and complex (e.g. chromosome shattering). We do not fully understand what types of complex mutation occur, and we cannot routinely characterize arbitrarily-complex mutations in a high-throughput, genome-wide manner. Long-read DNA sequencing methods (e.g. PacBio, nanopore) are promising for this task, because one read may encompass a whole complex mutation. We describe an analysis pipeline to characterize arbitrarily-complex ‘local’ mutations, i.e. intrachromosomal mutations encompassed by one DNA read. We apply it to nanopore and PacBio reads from one human cell line (NA12878), and survey sequence rearrangements, both real and artifactual. Almost all the real rearrangements belong to recurring patterns or motifs: the most common is tandem multiplication (e.g. heptuplication), but there are also complex patterns such as localized shattering, which resembles DNA damage by radiation. Gene conversions are identified, including one between hemoglobin gamma genes. This study demonstrates a way to find intricate rearrangements with any number of duplications, deletions, and repositionings. It demonstrates a probability-based method to resolve ambiguous rearrangements involving highly similar sequences, as occurs in gene conversion. We present a catalog of local rearrangements in one human cell line, and show which rearrangement patterns occur.


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 transposable element annotation pipeline and expression analysis reveal potentially active elements in the microalga Tisochrysis lutea.

Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile DNA sequences known as drivers of genome evolution. Their impacts have been widely studied in animals, plants and insects, but little is known about them in microalgae. In a previous study, we compared the genetic polymorphisms between strains of the haptophyte microalga Tisochrysis lutea and suggested the involvement of active autonomous TEs in their genome evolution.To identify potentially autonomous TEs, we designed a pipeline named PiRATE (Pipeline to Retrieve and Annotate Transposable Elements, download: https://doi.org/10.17882/51795 ), and conducted an accurate TE annotation on a new genome assembly of T. lutea. PiRATE is composed of detection, classification and annotation steps. Its detection step combines multiple, existing analysis packages representing all major approaches for TE detection and its classification step was optimized for microalgal genomes. The efficiency of the detection and classification steps was evaluated with data on the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. PiRATE detected 81% of the TE families of A. thaliana and correctly classified 75% of them. We applied PiRATE to T. lutea genomic data and established that its genome contains 15.89% Class I and 4.95% Class II TEs. In these, 3.79 and 17.05% correspond to potentially autonomous and non-autonomous TEs, respectively. Annotation data was combined with transcriptomic and proteomic data to identify potentially active autonomous TEs. We identified 17 expressed TE families and, among these, a TIR/Mariner and a TIR/hAT family were able to synthesize their transposase. Both these TE families were among the three highest expressed genes in a previous transcriptomic study and are composed of highly similar copies throughout the genome of T. lutea. This sum of evidence reveals that both these TE families could be capable of transposing or triggering the transposition of potential related MITE elements.This manuscript provides an example of a de novo transposable element annotation of a non-model organism characterized by a fragmented genome assembly and belonging to a poorly studied phylum at genomic level. Integration of multi-omics data enabled the discovery of potential mobile TEs and opens the way for new discoveries on the role of these repeated elements in genomic evolution of microalgae.


September 22, 2019  |  

Amplification and adaptation of centromeric repeats in polyploid switchgrass species.

Centromeres in most higher eukaryotes are composed of long arrays of satellite repeats from a single satellite repeat family. Why centromeres are dominated by a single satellite repeat and how the satellite repeats originate and evolve are among the most intriguing and long-standing questions in centromere biology. We identified eight satellite repeats in the centromeres of tetraploid switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Seven repeats showed characteristics associated with classical centromeric repeats with monomeric lengths ranging from 166 to 187 bp. Interestingly, these repeats share an 80-bp DNA motif. We demonstrate that this 80-bp motif may dictate translational and rotational phasing of the centromeric repeats with the cenH3 nucleosomes. The sequence of the last centromeric repeat, Pv156, is identical to the 5S ribosomal RNA genes. We demonstrate that a 5S ribosomal RNA gene array was recruited to be the functional centromere for one of the switchgrass chromosomes. Our findings reveal that certain types of satellite repeats, which are associated with unique sequence features and are composed of monomers in mono-nucleosomal length, are favorable for centromeres. Centromeric repeats may undergo dynamic amplification and adaptation before the centromeres in the same species become dominated by the best adapted satellite repeat.© 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.


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.


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