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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Case Study: With SMRT Sequencing for genomes, transcriptomes, and epigenomes, scientists are overcoming barriers in plant and animal research

Scientists are utilizing long-read PacBio sequencing to provide uniquely comprehensive views of complex plant and animal genomes. These efforts are uncovering novel biological mechanisms, enabling progress in crop development, and much more. To date, scientists have published over 1000 papers with Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing, many covering breakthroughs in the plant and animal sciences. In this case study, we look at examples in model organisms Drosophila and C. elegans and non-model organisms coffee, Oropeitum, danshen, and sugarbeet, where SMRT Sequencing has contributed to a more accurate understanding of biology. These efforts underscore the broad applicability of long-read sequencing in…

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Webinar: Long HiFi reads for high-quality genome assemblies

In this LabRoots webinar, Jonas Korlach the CSO of PacBio provides an introduction to PacBio HiFi sequence reads, which are both long (up to 25 kb currently) and accurate (>99%) at the individual single-molecule sequence read level andhave allowed for advances in de novo genome assemblies. Korlach reviews the characteristics of HiFi read data obtained with the Sequel II System, followed by examples of high-quality genome assemblies for human, plant and animal genomes including the different aspects of evaluating genome assemblies (contiguity, accuracy, completeness and allelic phasing) and illustrates their high quality by examples of resolving centromeres, telomeres, segmental duplications…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Improved assembly and variant detection of a haploid human genome using single-molecule, high-fidelity long reads.

The sequence and assembly of human genomes using long-read sequencing technologies has revolutionized our understanding of structural variation and genome organization. We compared the accuracy, continuity, and gene annotation of genome assemblies generated from either high-fidelity (HiFi) or continuous long-read (CLR) datasets from the same complete hydatidiform mole human genome. We find that the HiFi sequence data assemble an additional 10% of duplicated regions and more accurately represent the structure of tandem repeats, as validated with orthogonal analyses. As a result, an additional 5 Mbp of pericentromeric sequences are recovered in the HiFi assembly, resulting in a 2.5-fold increase in…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Telomere-to-telomere assembly of a complete human X chromosome

After nearly two decades of improvements, the current human reference genome (GRCh38) is the most accurate and complete vertebrate genome ever produced. However, no one chromosome has been finished end to end, and hundreds of unresolved gaps persist. The remaining gaps include ribosomal rDNA arrays, large near-identical segmental duplications, and satellite DNA arrays. These regions harbor largely unexplored variation of unknown consequence, and their absence from the current reference genome can lead to experimental artifacts and hide true variants when re-sequencing additional human genomes. Here we present a de novo human genome assembly that surpasses the continuity of GRCh38, along…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Chinese chestnut genome: a reference for species restoration

Forest tree species are increasingly subject to severe mortalities from exotic pests, diseases, and invasive organisms, accelerated by climate change. Forest health issues are threatening multiple species and ecosystem sustainability globally. While sources of resistance may be available in related species, or among surviving trees, introgression of resistance genes into threatened tree species in reasonable time frames requires genome-wide breeding tools. Asian species of chestnut (Castanea spp.) are being employed as donors of disease resistance genes to restore native chestnut species in North America and Europe. To aid in the restoration of threatened chestnut species, we present the assembly of…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Extended haplotype phasing of de novo genome assemblies with FALCON-Phase

Haplotype-resolved genome assemblies are important for understanding how combinations of variants impact phenotypes. These assemblies can be created in various ways, such as use of tissues that contain single-haplotype (haploid) genomes, or by co-sequencing of parental genomes, but these approaches can be impractical in many situations. We present FALCON-Phase, which integrates long-read sequencing data and ultra-long-range Hi-C chromatin interaction data of a diploid individual to create high-quality, phased diploid genome assemblies. The method was evaluated by application to three datasets, including human, cattle, and zebra finch, for which high-quality, fully haplotype resolved assemblies were available for benchmarking. Phasing algorithm accuracy…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

High satellite repeat turnover in great apes studied with short- and long-read technologies.

Satellite repeats are a structural component of centromeres and telomeres, and in some instances their divergence is known to drive speciation. Due to their highly repetitive nature, satellite sequences have been understudied and underrepresented in genome assemblies. To investigate their turnover in great apes, we studied satellite repeats of unit sizes up to 50?bp in human, chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, using unassembled short and long sequencing reads. The density of satellite repeats, as identified from accurate short reads (Illumina), varied greatly among great ape genomes. These were dominated by a handful of abundant repeated motifs, frequently…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

TIN2 Functions with TPP1/POT1 To Stimulate Telomerase Processivity.

TIN2 is an important regulator of telomere length, and mutations in TINF2, the gene encoding TIN2, cause short-telomere syndromes. While the genetics underscore the importance of TIN2, the mechanism through which TIN2 regulates telomere length remains unclear. Here, we tested the effects of human TIN2 on telomerase activity. We identified a new isoform in human cells, TIN2M, that is expressed at levels similar to those of previously studied TIN2 isoforms. All three TIN2 isoforms localized to and maintained telomere integrity in vivo, and localization was not disrupted by telomere syndrome mutations. Using direct telomerase activity assays, we discovered that TIN2…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Modern View of B Chromosomes Under the Impact of High Scale Omics Analyses.

Supernumerary B chromosomes (Bs) are extra karyotype units in addition to A chromosomes, and are found in some fungi and thousands of animals and plant species. Bs are uniquely characterized due to their non-Mendelian inheritance, and represent one of the best examples of genomic conflict. Over the last decades, their genetic composition, function and evolution have remained an unresolved query, although a few successful attempts have been made to address these phenomena. A classical concept based on cytogenetics and genetics is that Bs are selfish and abundant with DNA repeats and transposons, and in most cases, they do not carry…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Critical length in long-read resequencing

Long-read sequencing has substantial advantages for structural variant discovery and phasing of vari- ants compared to short-read technologies, but the required and optimal read length has not been as- sessed. In this work, we used long reads simulated from human genomes and evaluated structural vari- ant discovery and variant phasing using current best practicebioinformaticsmethods.Wedeterminedthatoptimal discovery of structural variants from human genomes can be obtained with reads of minimally 20 kb. Haplotyping variants across genes only reaches its optimum from reads of 100 kb. These findings are important for the design of future long-read sequenc- ing projects.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Rapid antigen diversification through mitotic recombination in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Malaria parasites possess the remarkable ability to maintain chronic infections that fail to elicit a protective immune response, characteristics that have stymied vaccine development and cause people living in endemic regions to remain at risk of malaria despite previous exposure to the disease. These traits stem from the tremendous antigenic diversity displayed by parasites circulating in the field. For Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of the human malaria parasites, this diversity is exemplified by the variant gene family called var, which encodes the major surface antigen displayed on infected red blood cells (RBCs). This gene family exhibits virtually limitless diversity…

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