April 21, 2020  |  

Tandem repeats lead to sequence assembly errors and impose multi-level challenges for genome and protein databases.

The widespread occurrence of repetitive stretches of DNA in genomes of organisms across the tree of life imposes fundamental challenges for sequencing, genome assembly, and automated annotation of genes and proteins. This multi-level problem can lead to errors in genome and protein databases that are often not recognized or acknowledged. As a consequence, end users working with sequences with repetitive regions are faced with ‘ready-to-use’ deposited data whose trustworthiness is difficult to determine, let alone to quantify. Here, we provide a review of the problems associated with tandem repeat sequences that originate from different stages during the sequencing-assembly-annotation-deposition workflow, and that may proliferate in public database repositories affecting all downstream analyses. As a case study, we provide examples of the Atlantic cod genome, whose sequencing and assembly were hindered by a particularly high prevalence of tandem repeats. We complement this case study with examples from other species, where mis-annotations and sequencing errors have propagated into protein databases. With this review, we aim to raise the awareness level within the community of database users, and alert scientists working in the underlying workflow of database creation that the data they omit or improperly assemble may well contain important biological information valuable to others. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

A chromosome-level genome of black rockfish, Sebastes schlegelii, provides insights into the evolution of live birth.

Black rockfish (Sebastes schlegelii) is a teleost species where eggs are fertilized internally and retained in the maternal reproductive system, where they undergo development until live birth (termed viviparity). In the present study, we report a chromosome-level black rockfish genome assembly. High-throughput transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq and ATAC-seq), coupled with in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunofluorescence, identify several candidate genes for maternal preparation, sperm storage and release, and hatching. We propose that zona pellucida (ZP) proteins retain sperm at the oocyte envelope, while genes in two distinct astacin metalloproteinase subfamilies serve to release sperm from the ZP and free the embryo from chorion at pre-hatching stage. Finally, we present a model of black rockfish reproduction, and propose that the rockfish ovarian wall has a similar function to the uterus of mammals. Taken together, these genomic data reveal unprecedented insights into the evolution of an unusual teleost life history strategy, and provide a sound foundation for studying viviparity in non-mammalian vertebrates and an invaluable resource for rockfish ecological and evolutionary research. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosome-scale assemblies reveal the structural evolution of African cichlid genomes.

African cichlid fishes are well known for their rapid radiations and are a model system for studying evolutionary processes. Here we compare multiple, high-quality, chromosome-scale genome assemblies to elucidate the genetic mechanisms underlying cichlid diversification and study how genome structure evolves in rapidly radiating lineages.We re-anchored our recent assembly of the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome using a new high-density genetic map. We also developed a new de novo genome assembly of the Lake Malawi cichlid, Metriaclima zebra, using high-coverage Pacific Biosciences sequencing, and anchored contigs to linkage groups (LGs) using 4 different genetic maps. These new anchored assemblies allow the first chromosome-scale comparisons of African cichlid genomes. Large intra-chromosomal structural differences (~2-28 megabase pairs) among species are common, while inter-chromosomal differences are rare (<10 megabase pairs total). Placement of the centromeres within the chromosome-scale assemblies identifies large structural differences that explain many of the karyotype differences among species. Structural differences are also associated with unique patterns of recombination on sex chromosomes. Structural differences on LG9, LG11, and LG20 are associated with reduced recombination, indicative of inversions between the rock- and sand-dwelling clades of Lake Malawi cichlids. M. zebra has a larger number of recent transposable element insertions compared with O. niloticus, suggesting that several transposable element families have a higher rate of insertion in the haplochromine cichlid lineage.This study identifies novel structural variation among East African cichlid genomes and provides a new set of genomic resources to support research on the mechanisms driving cichlid adaptation and speciation. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome of Crucihimalaya himalaica, a close relative of Arabidopsis, shows ecological adaptation to high altitude.

Crucihimalaya himalaica, a close relative of Arabidopsis and Capsella, grows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) about 4,000 m above sea level and represents an attractive model system for studying speciation and ecological adaptation in extreme environments. We assembled a draft genome sequence of 234.72 Mb encoding 27,019 genes and investigated its origin and adaptive evolutionary mechanisms. Phylogenomic analyses based on 4,586 single-copy genes revealed that C. himalaica is most closely related to Capsella (estimated divergence 8.8 to 12.2 Mya), whereas both species form a sister clade to Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis lyrata, from which they diverged between 12.7 and 17.2 Mya. LTR retrotransposons in C. himalaica proliferated shortly after the dramatic uplift and climatic change of the Himalayas from the Late Pliocene to Pleistocene. Compared with closely related species, C. himalaica showed significant contraction and pseudogenization in gene families associated with disease resistance and also significant expansion in gene families associated with ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and DNA repair. We identified hundreds of genes involved in DNA repair, ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, and reproductive processes with signs of positive selection. Gene families showing dramatic changes in size and genes showing signs of positive selection are likely candidates for C. himalaica’s adaptation to intense radiation, low temperature, and pathogen-depauperate environments in the QTP. Loss of function at the S-locus, the reason for the transition to self-fertilization of C. himalaica, might have enabled its QTP occupation. Overall, the genome sequence of C. himalaica provides insights into the mechanisms of plant adaptation to extreme environments.Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


April 21, 2020  |  

Inter-chromosomal coupling between vision and pigmentation genes during genomic divergence.

Recombination between loci underlying mate choice and ecological traits is a major evolutionary force acting against speciation with gene flow. The evolution of linkage disequilibrium between such loci is therefore a fundamental step in the origin of species. Here, we show that this process can take place in the absence of physical linkage in hamlets-a group of closely related reef fishes from the wider Caribbean that differ essentially in colour pattern and are reproductively isolated through strong visually-based assortative mating. Using full-genome analysis, we identify four narrow genomic intervals that are consistently differentiated among sympatric species in a backdrop of extremely low genomic divergence. These four intervals include genes involved in pigmentation (sox10), axial patterning (hoxc13a), photoreceptor development (casz1) and visual sensitivity (SWS and LWS opsins) that develop islands of long-distance and inter-chromosomal linkage disequilibrium as species diverge. The relatively simple genomic architecture of species differences facilitates the evolution of linkage disequilibrium in the presence of gene flow.


April 21, 2020  |  

Do the toll-like receptors and complement systems play equally important roles in freshwater adapted Dolly Varden char (Salvelinus malma)?

Unlike the normal anadromous lifestyle, Chinese native Dolly Varden char (Salvelinus malma) is locked in land and lives in fresh water lifetime. To explore the effect of freshwater adaption on its immune system, we constructed a pooled cDNA library of hepatopancreas and spleen of Chinese freshwater Dolly Varden char (S. malma). A total of 27,829 unigenes were generated from 31,233 high-quality transcripts and 17,670 complete open reading frames (ORF) were identified. Totally 25,809 unigenes were successfully annotated and it classified more native than adaptive immunity-associated genes, and more genes involved in toll-like receptor signal pathway than those in complement and coagulation cascades (51 vs 3), implying the relative more important role of toll-like receptors than the complement system under bacterial injection for the freshwater Dolly Varden char. These huge different numbers of TLR and complement system identified in freshwater Dolly Varden char probably caused by distinct evolution pressure patterns between fish TLR and complement system, representative by TLR3 and TLR5 as well as C4 and C6, respectively, which were under purifying and positively selecting pressure, respectively. Further seawater adaptation experiment and the comparison study with our library will no doubt be helpful to elucidate the effect of freshwater adaption of Chinese native Dolly Varden char on its immune system.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Finding Nemo’s Genes: A chromosome-scale reference assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula.

The iconic orange clownfish, Amphiprion percula, is a model organism for studying the ecology and evolution of reef fishes, including patterns of population connectivity, sex change, social organization, habitat selection and adaptation to climate change. Notably, the orange clownfish is the only reef fish for which a complete larval dispersal kernel has been established and was the first fish species for which it was demonstrated that antipredator responses of reef fishes could be impaired by ocean acidification. Despite its importance, molecular resources for this species remain scarce and until now it lacked a reference genome assembly. Here, we present a de novo chromosome-scale assembly of the genome of the orange clownfish Amphiprion percula. We utilized single-molecule real-time sequencing technology from Pacific Biosciences to produce an initial polished assembly comprised of 1,414 contigs, with a contig N50 length of 1.86 Mb. Using Hi-C-based chromatin contact maps, 98% of the genome assembly were placed into 24 chromosomes, resulting in a final assembly of 908.8 Mb in length with contig and scaffold N50s of 3.12 and 38.4 Mb, respectively. This makes it one of the most contiguous and complete fish genome assemblies currently available. The genome was annotated with 26,597 protein-coding genes and contains 96% of the core set of conserved actinopterygian orthologs. The availability of this reference genome assembly as a community resource will further strengthen the role of the orange clownfish as a model species for research on the ecology and evolution of reef fishes. © 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Antarctic blackfin icefish genome reveals adaptations to extreme environments.

Icefishes (suborder Notothenioidei; family Channichthyidae) are the only vertebrates that lack functional haemoglobin genes and red blood cells. Here, we report a high-quality genome assembly and linkage map for the Antarctic blackfin icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus, highlighting evolved genomic features for its unique physiology. Phylogenomic analysis revealed that Antarctic fish of the teleost suborder Notothenioidei, including icefishes, diverged from the stickleback lineage about 77 million years ago and subsequently evolved cold-adapted phenotypes as the Southern Ocean cooled to sub-zero temperatures. Our results show that genes involved in protection from ice damage, including genes encoding antifreeze glycoprotein and zona pellucida proteins, are highly expanded in the icefish genome. Furthermore, genes that encode enzymes that help to control cellular redox state, including members of the sod3 and nqo1 gene families, are expanded, probably as evolutionary adaptations to the relatively high concentration of oxygen dissolved in cold Antarctic waters. In contrast, some crucial regulators of circadian homeostasis (cry and per genes) are absent from the icefish genome, suggesting compromised control of biological rhythms in the polar light environment. The availability of the icefish genome sequence will accelerate our understanding of adaptation to extreme Antarctic environments.


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 information from draft assemblies of selected codfishes, we designed probes covering the two Hb gene clusters. Use of custom-made barcodes combined with PacBio RSII sequencing led to highly continuous assemblies of the LA (~100 kb) and MN (~200 kb) clusters, which include syntenic regions of coding and intergenic sequences. Our results revealed an overall conserved genomic organization of the Hb genes within this lineage, yet with several, lineage-specific gene duplications. Moreover, for some of the species examined, we identified amino acid substitutions at two sites in the Hbb1 gene as well as length polymorphisms in its regulatory region, which has previously been linked to temperature adaptation in Atlantic cod populations. This study highlights the use of targeted long-read capture as a versatile approach for comparative genomic studies by generation of a cross-species genomic resource elucidating the evolutionary history of the Hb gene family across the highly divergent group of codfishes. © 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome of the Komodo dragon reveals adaptations in the cardiovascular and chemosensory systems of monitor lizards.

Monitor lizards are unique among ectothermic reptiles in that they have high aerobic capacity and distinctive cardiovascular physiology resembling that of endothermic mammals. Here, we sequence the genome of the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, the largest extant monitor lizard, and generate a high-resolution de novo chromosome-assigned genome assembly for V. komodoensis using a hybrid approach of long-range sequencing and single-molecule optical mapping. Comparing the genome of V. komodoensis with those of related species, we find evidence of positive selection in pathways related to energy metabolism, cardiovascular homoeostasis, and haemostasis. We also show species-specific expansions of a chemoreceptor gene family related to pheromone and kairomone sensing in V. komodoensis and other lizard lineages. Together, these evolutionary signatures of adaptation reveal the genetic underpinnings of the unique Komodo dragon sensory and cardiovascular systems, and suggest that selective pressure altered haemostasis genes to help Komodo dragons evade the anticoagulant effects of their own saliva. The Komodo dragon genome is an important resource for understanding the biology of monitor lizards and reptiles worldwide.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosome-level genome assembly of Triplophysa tibetana, a fish adapted to the harsh high-altitude environment of the Tibetan Plateau.

Triplophysa is an endemic fish genus of the Tibetan Plateau in China. Triplophysa tibetana, which lives at a recorded altitude of ~4,000 m and plays an important role in the highland aquatic ecosystem, serves as an excellent model for investigating high-altitude environmental adaptation. However, evolutionary and conservation studies of T. tibetana have been limited by scarce genomic resources for the genus Triplophysa. In the present study, we applied PacBio sequencing and the Hi-C technique to assemble the T. tibetana genome. A 652-Mb genome with 1,325 contigs with an N50 length of 3.1 Mb was obtained. The 1,137 contigs were further assembled into 25 chromosomes, representing 98.7% and 80.47% of all contigs at the base and sequence number level, respectively. Approximately 260 Mb of sequence, accounting for ~39.8% of the genome, was identified as repetitive elements. DNA transposons (16.3%), long interspersed nuclear elements (12.4%) and long terminal repeats (11.0%) were the most repetitive types. In total, 24,372 protein-coding genes were predicted in the genome, and ~95% of the genes were functionally annotated via a search in public databases. Using whole genome sequence information, we found that T. tibetana diverged from its common ancestor with Danio rerio ~121.4 million years ago. The high-quality genome assembled in this work not only provides a valuable genomic resource for future population and conservation studies of T. tibetana, but it also lays a solid foundation for further investigation into the mechanisms of environmental adaptation of endemic fishes in the Tibetan Plateau. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Improvement of the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) reference genome and development of male-specific DNA markers.

The Pacific bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, is a highly migratory species that is widely distributed in the North Pacific Ocean. Like other marine species, T. orientalis has no external sexual dimorphism; thus, identifying sex-specific variants from whole genome sequence data is a useful approach to develop an effective sex identification method. Here, we report an improved draft genome of T. orientalis and male-specific DNA markers. Combining PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sufficiently improved genome assembly, with a 38-fold increase in scaffold contiguity (to 444 scaffolds) compared to the first published draft genome. Through analysing re-sequence data of 15 males and 16 females, 250 male-specific SNPs were identified from more than 30 million polymorphisms. All male-specific variants were male-heterozygous, suggesting that T. orientalis has a male heterogametic sex-determination system. The largest linkage disequilibrium block (3,174?bp on scaffold_064) contained 51 male-specific variants. PCR primers and a PCR-based sex identification assay were developed using these male-specific variants. The sex of 115 individuals (56 males and 59 females; sex was diagnosed by visual examination of the gonads) was identified with high accuracy using the assay. This easy, accurate, and practical technique facilitates the control of sex ratios in tuna farms. Furthermore, this method could be used to estimate the sex ratio and/or the sex-specific growth rate of natural populations.


April 21, 2020  |  

The sequence and de novo assembly of Takifugu bimaculatus genome using PacBio and Hi-C technologies.

Takifugu bimaculatus is a native teleost species of the southeast coast of China where it has been cultivated as an important edible fish in the last decade. Genetic breeding programs, which have been recently initiated for improving the aquaculture performance of T. bimaculatus, urgently require a high-quality reference genome to facilitate genome selection and related genetic studies. To address this need, we produced a chromosome-level reference genome of T. bimaculatus using the PacBio single molecule sequencing technique (SMRT) and High-through chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) technologies. The genome was assembled into 2,193 contigs with a total length of 404.21?Mb and a contig N50 length of 1.31?Mb. After chromosome-level scaffolding, 22 chromosomes with a total length of 371.68?Mb were constructed. Moreover, a total of 21,117 protein-coding genes and 3,471 ncRNAs were annotated in the reference genome. The highly accurate, chromosome-level reference genome of T. bimaculatus provides an essential genome resource for not only the genome-scale selective breeding of T. bimaculatus but also the exploration of the evolutionary basis of the speciation and local adaptation of the Takifugu genus.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosome assembly of Collichthys lucidus, a fish of Sciaenidae with a multiple sex chromosome system.

Collichthys lucidus (C. lucidus) is a commercially important marine fish species distributed in coastal regions of East Asia with the X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y multiple sex chromosome system. The karyotype for female C. lucidus is 2n?=?48, while 2n?=?47 for male ones. Therefore, C. lucidus is also an excellent model to investigate teleost sex-determination and sex chromosome evolution. We reported the first chromosome genome assembly of C. lucidus using Illumina short-read, PacBio long-read sequencing and Hi-C technology. An 877?Mb genome was obtained with a contig and scaffold N50 of 1.1?Mb and 35.9?Mb, respectively. More than 97% BUSCOs genes were identified in the C. lucidus genome and 28,602 genes were annotated. We identified potential sex-determination genes along chromosomes and found that the chromosome 1 might be involved in the formation of Y specific metacentric chromosome. The first C. lucidus chromosome-level reference genome lays a solid foundation for the following population genetics study, functional gene mapping of important economic traits, sex-determination and sex chromosome evolution studies for Sciaenidae and teleosts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of a male specific region containing a candidate sex determining gene in Atlantic cod.

The genetic mechanisms determining sex in teleost fishes are highly variable and the master sex determining gene has only been identified in few species. Here we characterize a male-specific region of 9?kb on linkage group 11 in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) harboring a single gene named zkY for zinc knuckle on the Y chromosome. Diagnostic PCR test of phenotypically sexed males and females confirm the sex-specific nature of the Y-sequence. We identified twelve highly similar autosomal gene copies of zkY, of which eight code for proteins containing the zinc knuckle motif. 3D modeling suggests that the amino acid changes observed in six copies might influence the putative RNA-binding specificity. Cod zkY and the autosomal proteins zk1 and zk2 possess an identical zinc knuckle structure, but only the Y-specific gene zkY was expressed at high levels in the developing larvae before the onset of sex differentiation. Collectively these data suggest zkY as a candidate master masculinization gene in Atlantic cod. PCR amplification of Y-sequences in Arctic cod (Arctogadus glacialis) and Greenland cod (Gadus macrocephalus ogac) suggests that the male-specific region emerged in codfishes more than 7.5 million years ago.


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.