September 22, 2019  |  

ABC transporter mis-splicing associated with resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab in laboratory- and field-selected pink bollworm.

Evolution of pest resistance threatens the benefits of genetically engineered crops that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal proteins. Strategies intended to delay pest resistance are most effective when implemented proactively. Accordingly, researchers have selected for and analyzed resistance to Bt toxins in many laboratory strains of pests before resistance evolves in the field, but the utility of this approach depends on the largely untested assumption that laboratory- and field-selected resistance to Bt toxins are similar. Here we compared the genetic basis of resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab, which is widely deployed in transgenic crops, between laboratory- and field-selected populations of the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), a global pest of cotton. We discovered that resistance to Cry2Ab is associated with mutations disrupting the same ATP-binding cassette transporter gene (PgABCA2) in a laboratory-selected strain from Arizona, USA, and in field-selected populations from India. The most common mutation, loss of exon 6 caused by alternative splicing, occurred in resistant larvae from both locations. Together with previous data, the results imply that mutations in the same gene confer Bt resistance in laboratory- and field-selected strains and suggest that focusing on ABCA2 genes may help to accelerate progress in monitoring and managing resistance to Cry2Ab.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome and evolution of the shade-requiring medicinal herb Panax ginseng.

Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer, reputed as the king of medicinal herbs, has slow growth, long generation time, low seed production and complicated genome structure that hamper its study. Here, we unveil the genomic architecture of tetraploid P. ginseng by de novo genome assembly, representing 2.98 Gbp with 59 352 annotated genes. Resequencing data indicated that diploid Panax species diverged in association with global warming in Southern Asia, and two North American species evolved via two intercontinental migrations. Two whole genome duplications (WGD) occurred in the family Araliaceae (including Panax) after divergence with the Apiaceae, the more recent one contributing to the ability of P. ginseng to overwinter, enabling it to spread broadly through the Northern Hemisphere. Functional and evolutionary analyses suggest that production of pharmacologically important dammarane-type ginsenosides originated in Panax and are produced largely in shoot tissues and transported to roots; that newly evolved P. ginseng fatty acid desaturases increase freezing tolerance; and that unprecedented retention of chlorophyll a/b binding protein genes enables efficient photosynthesis under low light. A genome-scale metabolic network provides a holistic view of Panax ginsenoside biosynthesis. This study provides valuable resources for improving medicinal values of ginseng either through genomics-assisted breeding or metabolic engineering.© 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cultivation and sequencing of rumen microbiome members from the Hungate1000 Collection.

Productivity of ruminant livestock depends on the rumen microbiota, which ferment indigestible plant polysaccharides into nutrients used for growth. Understanding the functions carried out by the rumen microbiota is important for reducing greenhouse gas production by ruminants and for developing biofuels from lignocellulose. We present 410 cultured bacteria and archaea, together with their reference genomes, representing every cultivated rumen-associated archaeal and bacterial family. We evaluate polysaccharide degradation, short-chain fatty acid production and methanogenesis pathways, and assign specific taxa to functions. A total of 336 organisms were present in available rumen metagenomic data sets, and 134 were present in human gut microbiome data sets. Comparison with the human microbiome revealed rumen-specific enrichment for genes encoding de novo synthesis of vitamin B12, ongoing evolution by gene loss and potential vertical inheritance of the rumen microbiome based on underrepresentation of markers of environmental stress. We estimate that our Hungate genome resource represents ~75% of the genus-level bacterial and archaeal taxa present in the rumen.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo transcriptome assembly of drought tolerant CAM plants, Agave deserti and Agave tequilana.

Agaves are succulent monocotyledonous plants native to xeric environments of North America. Because of their adaptations to their environment, including crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM, a water-efficient form of photosynthesis), and existing technologies for ethanol production, agaves have gained attention both as potential lignocellulosic bioenergy feedstocks and models for exploring plant responses to abiotic stress. However, the lack of comprehensive Agave sequence datasets limits the scope of investigations into the molecular-genetic basis of Agave traits.Here, we present comprehensive, high quality de novo transcriptome assemblies of two Agave species, A. tequilana and A. deserti, built from short-read RNA-seq data. Our analyses support completeness and accuracy of the de novo transcriptome assemblies, with each species having a minimum of approximately 35,000 protein-coding genes. Comparison of agave proteomes to those of additional plant species identifies biological functions of gene families displaying sequence divergence in agave species. Additionally, a focus on the transcriptomics of the A. deserti juvenile leaf confirms evolutionary conservation of monocotyledonous leaf physiology and development along the proximal-distal axis.Our work presents a comprehensive transcriptome resource for two Agave species and provides insight into their biology and physiology. These resources are a foundation for further investigation of agave biology and their improvement for bioenergy development.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomes of 13 domesticated and wild rice relatives highlight genetic conservation, turnover and innovation across the genus Oryza.

The genus Oryza is a model system for the study of molecular evolution over time scales ranging from a few thousand to 15 million years. Using 13 reference genomes spanning the Oryza species tree, we show that despite few large-scale chromosomal rearrangements rapid species diversification is mirrored by lineage-specific emergence and turnover of many novel elements, including transposons, and potential new coding and noncoding genes. Our study resolves controversial areas of the Oryza phylogeny, showing a complex history of introgression among different chromosomes in the young ‘AA’ subclade containing the two domesticated species. This study highlights the prevalence of functionally coupled disease resistance genes and identifies many new haplotypes of potential use for future crop protection. Finally, this study marks a milestone in modern rice research with the release of a complete long-read assembly of IR 8 ‘Miracle Rice’, which relieved famine and drove the Green Revolution in Asia 50 years ago.


September 22, 2019  |  

Targeted sequencing by gene synteny, a new strategy for polyploid species: sequencing and physical structure of a complex sugarcane region.

Sugarcane exhibits a complex genome mainly due to its aneuploid nature and high ploidy level, and sequencing of its genome poses a great challenge. Closely related species with well-assembled and annotated genomes can be used to help assemble complex genomes. Here, a stable quantitative trait locus (QTL) related to sugar accumulation in sorghum was successfully transferred to the sugarcane genome. Gene sequences related to this QTL were identified in silico from sugarcane transcriptome data, and molecular markers based on these sequences were developed to select bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from the sugarcane variety SP80-3280. Sixty-eight BAC clones containing at least two gene sequences associated with the sorghum QTL were sequenced using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) technology. Twenty BAC sequences were found to be related to the syntenic region, of which nine were sufficient to represent this region. The strategy we propose is called “targeted sequencing by gene synteny,” which is a simpler approach to understanding the genome structure of complex genomic regions associated with traits of interest.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains with diverse spatial isolation.

Cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains are currently one of the few known cocci-shaped spore-forming bacteria, yet we know very little about the genomics. The goal of this study is to utilize comparative genomics to investigate the diversity of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains that differ in their geographical isolation and show different nutritional requirements.For this study, we sequenced 28 genomes of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains isolated from 13 different locations around the world. We generated the first six complete genomes and methylomes utilizing PacBio sequencing, and an additional 22 draft genomes using Illumina sequencing. Genomic analysis revealed that cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains contained an average genome of 3.3 Mb comprised of 3222 CDS, 54 tRNAs and 6 rRNAs, while only two strains contained plasmids. The cocci-shaped Sporosarcina genome on average contained 2.3 prophages and 15.6 IS elements, while methylome analysis supported the diversity of these strains as only one of 31 methylation motifs were shared under identical growth conditions. Analysis with a 90% identity cut-off revealed 221 core genes or ~?7% of the genome, while a 30% identity cut-off generated a pan-genome of 8610 genes. The phylogenetic relationship of the cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains based on either core genes, accessory genes or spore-related genes consistently resulted in the 29 strains being divided into eight clades.This study begins to unravel the phylogenetic relationship of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains, and the comparative genomics of these strains supports identification of several new species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Enrichment of low-density symbiont DNA from minute insects.

Symbioses between bacteria and insects are often associated with changes in important biological traits that can significantly affect host fitness. To a large extent, studies of these interactions have been based on physiological changes or induced phenotypes in the host, and the genetic mechanisms by which symbionts interact with their hosts have only recently become better understood. Learning about symbionts has been challenging in part due to difficulties such as obtaining enough high quality genomic material for high throughput sequencing technology, especially for symbionts present in low titers, and in small or difficult to rear non-model hosts. Here we introduce a new method that substantially increases the yield of bacterial DNA in minute arthropod hosts, and requires less starting material relative to previous published methods. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genomic landscape of molecular responses to natural drought stress in Panicum hallii

Environmental stress is a major driver of ecological community dynamics and agricultural productivity. This is especially true for soil water availability, because drought is the greatest abiotic inhibitor of worldwide crop yields. Here, we test the genetic basis of drought responses in the genetic model for C4perennial grasses, Panicum hallii, through population genomics, field-scale gene-expression (eQTL) analysis, and comparison of two complete genomes. While gene expression networks are dominated by local cis-regulatory elements, we observe three genomic hotspots of unlinked trans-regulatory loci. These regulatory hubs are four times more drought responsive than the genome-wide average. Additionally, cis- and trans-regulatory networks are more likely to have opposing effects than expected under neutral evolution, supporting a strong influence of compensatory evolution and stabilizing selection. These results implicate trans-regulatory evolution as a driver of drought responses and demonstrate the potential for crop improvement in drought-prone regions through modification of gene regulatory networks.


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