September 22, 2019  |  

Leveraging multiple transcriptome assembly methods for improved gene structure annotation.

The performance of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) aligners and assemblers varies greatly across different organisms and experiments, and often the optimal approach is not known beforehand.Here, we show that the accuracy of transcript reconstruction can be boosted by combining multiple methods, and we present a novel algorithm to integrate multiple RNA-seq assemblies into a coherent transcript annotation. Our algorithm can remove redundancies and select the best transcript models according to user-specified metrics, while solving common artifacts such as erroneous transcript chimerisms.We have implemented this method in an open-source Python3 and Cython program, Mikado, available on GitHub.


September 22, 2019  |  

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop. © 2017 Clavijo et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of candidate genes at the Dp-fl locus conferring resistance against the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea

The cultivated apple is susceptible to several pests including the rosy apple aphid (RAA; Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini), control of which is mainly based on chemical treatments. A few cases of resistance to aphids have been described in apple germplasm resources, laying the basis for the development of new resistant cultivars by breeding. The cultivar ‘Florina’ is resistant to RAA, and recently, the Dp-fl locus responsible for its resistance was mapped on linkage group 8 of the apple genome. In this paper, a chromosome walking approach was performed by using a ‘Florina’ bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The walking started from the available tightly linked molecular markers flanking the resistance region. Various walking steps were performed in order to identify the minimum tiling path of BAC clones covering the Dp-fl region from both the “resistant” and “susceptible” chromosomes of ‘Florina’. A genomic region of about 279 Kb encompassing the Dp-fl resistance locus was fully sequenced by the PacBio technology. Through the development of new polymorphic markers, the mapping interval around the resistance locus was narrowed down to a physical region of 95 Kb. The annotation of this sequence resulted in the identification of four candidate genes putatively involved in the RAA resistance response.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of bdelloid rotifers: Insights from desiccating and nondesiccating species.

Bdelloid rotifers are a class of microscopic invertebrates that have existed for millions of years apparently without sex or meiosis. They inhabit a variety of temporary and permanent freshwater habitats globally, and many species are remarkably tolerant of desiccation. Bdelloids offer an opportunity to better understand the evolution of sex and recombination, but previous work has emphasised desiccation as the cause of several unusual genomic features in this group. Here, we present high-quality whole-genome sequences of 3 bdelloid species: Rotaria macrura and R. magnacalcarata, which are both desiccation intolerant, and Adineta ricciae, which is desiccation tolerant. In combination with the published assembly of A. vaga, which is also desiccation tolerant, we apply a comparative genomics approach to evaluate the potential effects of desiccation tolerance and asexuality on genome evolution in bdelloids. We find that ancestral tetraploidy is conserved among all 4 bdelloid species, but homologous divergence in obligately aquatic Rotaria genomes is unexpectedly low. This finding is contrary to current models regarding the role of desiccation in shaping bdelloid genomes. In addition, we find that homologous regions in A. ricciae are largely collinear and do not form palindromic repeats as observed in the published A. vaga assembly. Consequently, several features interpreted as genomic evidence for long-term ameiotic evolution are not general to all bdelloid species, even within the same genus. Finally, we substantiate previous findings of high levels of horizontally transferred nonmetazoan genes in both desiccating and nondesiccating bdelloid species and show that this unusual feature is not shared by other animal phyla, even those with desiccation-tolerant representatives. These comparisons call into question the proposed role of desiccation in mediating horizontal genetic transfer.


September 22, 2019  |  

Signatures of host specialization and a recent transposable element burst in the dynamic one-speed genome of the fungal barley powdery mildew pathogen.

Powdery mildews are biotrophic pathogenic fungi infecting a number of economically important plants. The grass powdery mildew, Blumeria graminis, has become a model organism to study host specialization of obligate biotrophic fungal pathogens. We resolved the large-scale genomic architecture of B. graminis forma specialis hordei (Bgh) to explore the potential influence of its genome organization on the co-evolutionary process with its host plant, barley (Hordeum vulgare).The near-chromosome level assemblies of the Bgh reference isolate DH14 and one of the most diversified isolates, RACE1, enabled a comparative analysis of these haploid genomes, which are highly enriched with transposable elements (TEs). We found largely retained genome synteny and gene repertoires, yet detected copy number variation (CNV) of secretion signal peptide-containing protein-coding genes (SPs) and locally disrupted synteny blocks. Genes coding for sequence-related SPs are often locally clustered, but neither the SPs nor the TEs reside preferentially in genomic regions with unique features. Extended comparative analysis with different host-specific B. graminis formae speciales revealed the existence of a core suite of SPs, but also isolate-specific SP sets as well as congruence of SP CNV and phylogenetic relationship. We further detected evidence for a recent, lineage-specific expansion of TEs in the Bgh genome.The characteristics of the Bgh genome (largely retained synteny, CNV of SP genes, recently proliferated TEs and a lack of significant compartmentalization) are consistent with a “one-speed” genome that differs in its architecture and (co-)evolutionary pattern from the “two-speed” genomes reported for several other filamentous phytopathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

Optical and physical mapping with local finishing enables megabase-scale resolution of agronomically important regions in the wheat genome.

Numerous scaffold-level sequences for wheat are now being released and, in this context, we report on a strategy for improving the overall assembly to a level comparable to that of the human genome.Using chromosome 7A of wheat as a model, sequence-finished megabase-scale sections of this chromosome were established by combining a new independent assembly using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based physical map, BAC pool paired-end sequencing, chromosome-arm-specific mate-pair sequencing and Bionano optical mapping with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium RefSeq v1.0 sequence and its underlying raw data. The combined assembly results in 18 super-scaffolds across the chromosome. The value of finished genome regions is demonstrated for two approximately 2.5 Mb regions associated with yield and the grain quality phenotype of fructan carbohydrate grain levels. In addition, the 50 Mb centromere region analysis incorporates cytological data highlighting the importance of non-sequence data in the assembly of this complex genome region.Sufficient genome sequence information is shown to now be available for the wheat community to produce sequence-finished releases of each chromosome of the reference genome. The high-level completion identified that an array of seven fructosyl transferase genes underpins grain quality and that yield attributes are affected by five F-box-only-protein-ubiquitin ligase domain and four root-specific lipid transfer domain genes. The completed sequence also includes the centromere.


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