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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Divergent evolution in the genomes of closely related lacertids, Lacerta viridis and L. bilineata, and implications for speciation.

Lacerta viridis and Lacerta bilineata are sister species of European green lizards (eastern and western clades, respectively) that, until recently, were grouped together as the L. viridis complex. Genetic incompatibilities were observed between lacertid populations through crossing experiments, which led to the delineation of two separate species within the L. viridis complex. The population history of these sister species and processes driving divergence are unknown. We constructed the first high-quality de novo genome assemblies for both L. viridis and L. bilineata through Illumina and PacBio sequencing, with annotation support provided from transcriptome sequencing of several tissues. To estimate gene flow…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Enrichment of fetal and maternal long cell-free DNA fragments from maternal plasma following DNA repair.

Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments in maternal plasma contain DNA damage and may negatively impact the sensitivity of noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). However, some of these DNA damages are potentially reparable. We aimed to recover these damaged cfDNA molecules using PreCR DNA repair mix.cfDNA was extracted from 20 maternal plasma samples and was repaired and sequenced by the Illumina platform. Size profiles and fetal DNA fraction changes of repaired samples were characterized. Targeted sequencing of chromosome Y sequences was used to enrich fetal cfDNA molecules following repair. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing platform was employed to characterize long (>250 bp) cfDNA molecules. NIPT…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Long-read sequence capture of the haemoglobin gene clusters across codfish species.

Combining high-throughput sequencing with targeted sequence capture has become an attractive tool to study specific genomic regions of interest. Most studies have so far focused on the exome using short-read technology. These approaches are not designed to capture intergenic regions needed to reconstruct genomic organization, including regulatory regions and gene synteny. Here, we demonstrate the power of combining targeted sequence capture with long-read sequencing technology for comparative genomic analyses of the haemoglobin (Hb) gene clusters across eight species separated by up to 70 million years. Guided by the reference genome assembly of the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) together with genome…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Megabase Length Hypermutation Accompanies Human Structural Variation at 17p11.2.

DNA rearrangements resulting in human genome structural variants (SVs) are caused by diverse mutational mechanisms. We used long- and short-read sequencing technologies to investigate end products of de novo chromosome 17p11.2 rearrangements and query the molecular mechanisms underlying both recurrent and non-recurrent events. Evidence for an increased rate of clustered single-nucleotide variant (SNV) mutation in cis with non-recurrent rearrangements was found. Indel and SNV formation are associated with both copy-number gains and losses of 17p11.2, occur up to ~1 Mb away from the breakpoint junctions, and favor C > G transversion substitutions; results suggest that single-stranded DNA is formed during…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

CRISPR/CAS9 targeted CAPTURE of mammalian genomic regions for characterization by NGS.

The robust detection of structural variants in mammalian genomes remains a challenge. It is particularly difficult in the case of genetically unstable Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines with only draft genome assemblies available. We explore the potential of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for the targeted capture of genomic loci containing integrated vectors in CHO-K1-based cell lines followed by next generation sequencing (NGS), and compare it to popular target-enrichment sequencing methods and to whole genome sequencing (WGS). Three different CRISPR/Cas9-based techniques were evaluated; all of them allow for amplification-free enrichment of target genomic regions in the range from 5 to 60…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Long-Read Sequencing Emerging in Medical Genetics

The wide implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has revolutionized the field of medical genetics. However, the short read lengths of currently used sequencing approaches pose a limitation for identification of structural variants, sequencing repetitive regions, phasing alleles and distinguishing highly homologous genomic regions. These limitations may significantly contribute to the diagnostic gap in patients with genetic disorders who have undergone standard NGS, like whole exome or even genome sequencing. Now, the emerging long-read sequencing (LRS) technologies may offer improvements in the characterization of genetic variation and regions that are difficult to assess with the currently prevailing NGS approaches. LRS…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The transcriptome of Darwin’s bark spider silk glands predicts proteins contributing to dragline silk toughness.

Darwin’s bark spider (Caerostris darwini) produces giant orb webs from dragline silk that can be twice as tough as other silks, making it the toughest biological material. This extreme toughness comes from increased extensibility relative to other draglines. We show C. darwini dragline-producing major ampullate (MA) glands highly express a novel silk gene transcript (MaSp4) encoding a protein that diverges markedly from closely related proteins and contains abundant proline, known to confer silk extensibility, in a unique GPGPQ amino acid motif. This suggests C. darwini evolved distinct proteins that may have increased its dragline’s toughness, enabling giant webs. Caerostris darwini’s…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Sites of retroviral DNA integration: From basic research to clinical applications.

One of the most crucial steps in the life cycle of a retrovirus is the integration of the viral DNA (vDNA) copy of the RNA genome into the genome of an infected host cell. Integration provides for efficient viral gene expression as well as for the segregation of viral genomes to daughter cells upon cell division. Some integrated viruses are not well expressed, and cells latently infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can resist the action of potent antiretroviral drugs and remain dormant for decades. Intensive research has been dedicated to understanding the catalytic mechanism of integration, as…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fusion of TTYH1 with the C19MC microRNA cluster drives expression of a brain-specific DNMT3B isoform in the embryonal brain tumor ETMR.

Embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes (ETMRs) are rare, deadly pediatric brain tumors characterized by high-level amplification of the microRNA cluster C19MC. We performed integrated genetic and epigenetic analyses of 12 ETMR samples and identified, in all cases, C19MC fusions to TTYH1 driving expression of the microRNAs. ETMR tumors, cell lines and xenografts showed a specific DNA methylation pattern distinct from those of other tumors and normal tissues. We detected extreme overexpression of a previously uncharacterized isoform of DNMT3B originating at an alternative promoter that is active only in the first weeks of neural tube development. Transcriptional and immunohistochemical analyses suggest…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Emergence, retention and selection: A trilogy of origination for functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs in primates.

While some human-specific protein-coding genes have been proposed to originate from ancestral lncRNAs, the transition process remains poorly understood. Here we identified 64 hominoid-specific de novo genes and report a mechanism for the origination of functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs with precise splicing structures and specific tissue expression profiles. Whole-genome sequencing of dozens of rhesus macaque animals revealed that these lncRNAs are generally not more selectively constrained than other lncRNA loci. The existence of these newly-originated de novo proteins is also not beyond anticipation under neutral expectation, as they generally have longer theoretical lifespan than their current age,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Improved full-length killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor transcript discovery in Mauritian cynomolgus macaques.

Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) modulate disease progression of pathogens including HIV, malaria, and hepatitis C. Cynomolgus and rhesus macaques are widely used as nonhuman primate models to study human pathogens, and so, considerable effort has been put into characterizing their KIR genetics. However, previous studies have relied on cDNA cloning and Sanger sequencing that lack the throughput of current sequencing platforms. In this study, we present a high throughput, full-length allele discovery method utilizing Pacific Biosciences circular consensus sequencing (CCS). We also describe a new approach to Macaque Exome Sequencing (MES) and the development of the Rhexome1.0, an adapted…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Stalking a lethal superbug by whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetics: Influence on unraveling a major hospital outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae.

From July 2010-April 2013, Leipzig University Hospital experienced the largest outbreak of a Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase 2 (KPC-2)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-2-Kp) strain observed in Germany to date. After termination of the outbreak, we aimed to reconstruct transmission pathways by phylogenetics based on whole-genome sequencing (WGS).One hundred seventeen KPC-2-Kp isolates from 89 outbreak patients, 5 environmental KPC-2-Kp isolates, and 24 K pneumoniae strains not linked to the outbreak underwent WGS. Phylogenetic analysis was performed blinded to clinical data and based on the genomic reads.A patient from Greece was confirmed as the source of the outbreak. Transmission pathways for 11 out of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Simulating the dynamics of targeted capture sequencing with CapSim.

Targeted sequencing using capture probes has become increasingly popular in clinical applications due to its scalability and cost-effectiveness. The approach also allows for higher sequencing coverage of the targeted regions resulting in better analysis statistical power. However, because of the dynamics of the hybridization process, it is difficult to evaluate the efficiency of the probe design prior to the experiments which are time consuming and costly.We developed CapSim, a software package for simulation of targeted sequencing. Given a genome sequence and a set of probes, CapSim simulates the fragmentation, the dynamics of probe hybridization and the sequencing of the captured…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Nucleotide-binding resistance gene signatures in sugar beet, insights from a new reference genome.

Nucleotide-binding (NB-ARC), leucine-rich-repeat genes (NLRs) account for 60.8% of resistance (R) genes molecularly characterized from plants. NLRs exist as large gene families prone to tandem duplication and transposition, with high sequence diversity among crops and their wild relatives. This diversity can be a source of new disease resistance, but difficulty in distinguishing specific sequences from homologous gene family members hinders characterization of resistance for improving crop varieties. Current genome sequencing and assembly technologies, especially those using long-read sequencing, are improving resolution of repeat-rich genomic regions and clarifying locations of duplicated genes, such as NLRs. Using the conserved NB-ARC domain as…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Sequel to Sanger: amplicon sequencing that scales.

Although high-throughput sequencers (HTS) have largely displaced their Sanger counterparts, the short read lengths and high error rates of most platforms constrain their utility for amplicon sequencing. The present study tests the capacity of single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing implemented on the SEQUEL platform to overcome these limitations, employing 658 bp amplicons of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene as a model system.By examining templates from more than 5000 species and 20,000 specimens, the performance of SMRT sequencing was tested with amplicons showing wide variation in GC composition and varied sequence attributes. SMRT and Sanger sequences were very similar, but…

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