June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT Sequencing solutions for investigative studies to understand evolutionary processes.

Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing holds promise for addressing new frontiers to understand molecular mechanisms in evolution and gain insight into adaptive strategies. With read lengths exceeding 10 kb, we are able to sequence high-quality, closed microbial genomes with associated plasmids, and investigate large genome complexities, such as long, highly repetitive, low-complexity regions and multiple tandem-duplication events. Improved genome quality, observed at 99.9999% (QV60) consensus accuracy, and significant reduction of gap regions in reference genomes (up to and beyond 50%) allow researchers to better understand coding sequences with high confidence, investigate potential regulatory mechanisms in noncoding regions, and make inferences about evolutionary strategies that are otherwise missed by the coverage biases associated with short- read sequencing technologies. Additional benefits afforded by SMRT Sequencing include the simultaneous capability to detect epigenomic modifications and obtain full-length cDNA transcripts that obsolete the need for assembly. With direct sequencing of DNA in real-time, this has resulted in the identification of numerous base modifications and motifs, which genome-wide profiles have linked to specific methyltransferase activities. Our new offering, the Iso-Seq Application, allows for the accurate differentiation between transcript isoforms that are difficult to resolve with short-read technologies. PacBio reads easily span transcripts such that both 5’/3’ primers for cDNA library generation and the poly-A tail are observed. As such, exon configuration and intron retention events can be analyzed without ambiguity. This technological advance is useful for characterizing transcript diversity and improving gene structure annotations in reference genomes. We review solutions available with SMRT Sequencing, from targeted sequencing efforts to obtaining reference genomes (>100 Mb). This includes strategies for identifying microsatellites and conducting phylogenetic comparisons with targeted gene families. We highlight how to best leverage our long reads that have exceeded 20 kb in length for research investigations, as well as currently available bioinformatics strategies for analysis. Benefits for these applications are further realized with consistent use of size selection of input sample using the BluePippin™ device from Sage Science as demonstrated in our genome improvement projects. Using the latest P5-C3 chemistry on model organisms, these efforts have yielded an observed contig N50 of ~6 Mb, with the longest contig exceeding 12.5 Mb and an average base quality of QV50.


June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT Sequencing solutions for plant genomes and transcriptomes

Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing provides efficient, streamlined solutions to address new frontiers in plant genomes and transcriptomes. Inherent challenges presented by highly repetitive, low-complexity regions and duplication events are directly addressed with multi- kilobase read lengths exceeding 8.5 kb on average, with many exceeding 20 kb. Differentiating between transcript isoforms that are difficult to resolve with short-read technologies is also now possible. We present solutions available for both reference genome and transcriptome research that best leverage long reads in several plant projects including algae, Arabidopsis, rice, and spinach using only the PacBio platform. Benefits for these applications are further realized with consistent use of size-selection of input sample using the BluePippin™ device from Sage Science. We will share highlights from our genome projects using the latest P5- C3 chemistry to generate high-quality reference genomes with the highest contiguity, contig N50 exceeding 1 Mb, and average base quality of QV50. Additionally, the value of long, intact reads to provide a no-assembly approach to investigate transcript isoforms using our Iso-Seq protocol will be presented for full transcriptome characterization and targeted surveys of genes with complex structures. PacBio provides the most comprehensive assembly with annotation when combining offerings for both genome and transcriptome research efforts. For more focused investigation, PacBio also offers researchers opportunities to easily investigate and survey genes with complex structures.


June 1, 2021  |  

Targeted sequencing of genes from soybean using NimbleGen SeqCap EZ and PacBio SMRT Sequencing

Full-length gene capture solutions offer opportunities to screen and characterize structural variations and genetic diversity to understand key traits in plants and animals. Through a combined Roche NimbleGen probe capture and SMRT Sequencing strategy, we demonstrate the capability to resolve complex gene structures often observed in plant defense and developmental genes spanning multiple kilobases. The custom panel includes members of the WRKY plant-defense-signaling family, members of the NB-LRR disease-resistance family, and developmental genes important for flowering. The presence of repetitive structures and low-complexity regions makes short-read sequencing of these genes difficult, yet this approach allows researchers to obtain complete sequences for unambiguous resolution of gene models. This strategy has been applied to genomic DNA samples from soybean coupled with barcoding for multiplexing.


June 1, 2021  |  

Long read sequencing technology to solve complex genomic regions assembly in plants

Numerous whole genome sequencing projects already achieved or ongoing have highlighted the fact that obtaining a high quality genome sequence is necessary to address comparative genomics questions such as structural variations among genotypes and gain or loss of specific function. Despite the spectacular progress that has been done regarding sequencing technologies, accurate and reliable data are still challenging, at the whole genome scale but also when targeting specific genomic regions. These issues are even more noticeable for complex plant genomes. Most plant genomes are known to be particularly challenging due to their size, high density of repetitive elements and various levels of ploidy. To overcome these issues, we have developed a strategy in order to reduce the genome complexity by using the large insert BAC libraries combined with next generation sequencing technologies. We have compared two different technologies (Roche-454 and Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS II) to sequence pools of BAC clones in order to obtain the best quality sequence. We targeted nine BAC clones from different species (maize, wheat, strawberry, barley, sugarcane and sunflower) known to be complex in terms of sequence assembly. We sequenced the pools of the nine BAC clones with both technologies. We have compared results of assembly and highlighted differences due to the sequencing technologies used. We demonstrated that the long reads obtained with the PacBio RS II technology enables to obtain a better and more reliable assembly notably by preventing errors due to duplicated or repetitive sequences in the same region.


June 1, 2021  |  

MaSuRCA Mega-Reads Assembly Technique for haplotype resolved genome assembly of hybrid PacBio and Illumina Data

The developments in DNA sequencing technology over the past several years have enabled large number of scientists to obtain sequences for the genomes of their interest at a fairly low cost. Illumina Sequencing was the dominant whole genome sequencing technology over the past few years due to its low cost. The Illumina reads are short (up to 300bp) and thus most of those draft genomes produced from Illumina data are very fragmented which limits their usability in practical scenarios. Longer reads are needed for more contiguous genomes. Recently Pacbio sequencing made significant advances in developing cost-effective long-read (>10000bp) sequencing technology and their data, although several times more expensive than Illumina, can be used to produce high quality genomes. Pacbio data can be used for de novo assembly, however due to its high error rate high coverage of the genome is required this raising the cost barrier. A solution for cost-effective genomes is to combine Pacbio and Illumina data leveraging the low error rates of the short Illumina reads and the length of the Pacbio reads. We have developed MaSuRCA mega-reads assembler for efficient assembly of hybrid data sets and we demonstrate that it performs well compared to the other published hybrid techniques. Another important benefit of the long reads is their ability to link the haplotype differences. The mega-reads approach corrects each Pacbio read independently and thus haplotype differences are preserved. Thus, leveraging the accuracy of the Illumina data and the length of the Pacbio reads, MaSuRCA mega-reads can produce haplotype-resolved genome assemblies, where each contig has sequence from a single haplotype. We present preliminary results on haplotype-resolved genome assemblies of faux (proof-of-concept) and real data.


April 21, 2020  |  

Insights into transcriptional characteristics and homoeolog expression bias of embryo and de-embryonated kernels in developing grain through RNA-Seq and Iso-Seq.

Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an allohexaploid, and the transcriptional characteristics of the wheat embryo and endosperm during grain development remain unclear. To analyze the transcriptome, we performed isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) for wheat grain and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) for the embryo and de-embryonated kernels. The differential regulation between the embryo and de-embryonated kernels was found to be greater than the difference between the two time points for each tissue. Exactly 2264 and 4790 tissue-specific genes were found at 14 days post-anthesis (DPA), while 5166 and 3784 genes were found at 25 DPA in the embryo and de-embryonated kernels, respectively. Genes expressed in the embryo were more likely to be related to nucleic acid and enzyme regulation. In de-embryonated kernels, genes were rich in substance metabolism and enzyme activity functions. Moreover, 4351, 4641, 4516, and 4453 genes with the A, B, and D homoeoloci were detected for each of the four tissues. Expression characteristics suggested that the D genome may be the largest contributor to the transcriptome in developing grain. Among these, 48, 66, and 38 silenced genes emerged in the A, B, and D genomes, respectively. Gene ontology analysis showed that silenced genes could be inclined to different functions in different genomes. Our study provided specific gene pools of the embryo and de-embryonated kernels and a homoeolog expression bias model on a large scale. This is helpful for providing new insights into the molecular physiology of wheat.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid evolution of a-gliadin gene family revealed by analyzing Gli-2 locus regions of wild emmer wheat.

a-Gliadins are a major group of gluten proteins in wheat flour that contribute to the end-use properties for food processing and contain major immunogenic epitopes that can cause serious health-related issues including celiac disease (CD). a-Gliadins are also the youngest group of gluten proteins and are encoded by a large gene family. The majority of the gene family members evolved independently in the A, B, and D genomes of different wheat species after their separation from a common ancestral species. To gain insights into the origin and evolution of these complex genes, the genomic regions of the Gli-2 loci encoding a-gliadins were characterized from the tetraploid wild emmer, a progenitor of hexaploid bread wheat that contributed the AABB genomes. Genomic sequences of Gli-2 locus regions for the wild emmer A and B genomes were first reconstructed using the genome sequence scaffolds along with optical genome maps. A total of 24 and 16 a-gliadin genes were identified for the A and B genome regions, respectively. a-Gliadin pseudogene frequencies of 86% for the A genome and 69% for the B genome were primarily caused by C to T substitutions in the highly abundant glutamine codons, resulting in the generation of premature stop codons. Comparison with the homologous regions from the hexaploid wheat cv. Chinese Spring indicated considerable sequence divergence of the two A genomes at the genomic level. In comparison, conserved regions between the two B genomes were identified that included a-gliadin pseudogenes containing shared nested TE insertions. Analyses of the genomic organization and phylogenetic tree reconstruction indicate that although orthologous gene pairs derived from speciation were present, large portions of a-gliadin genes were likely derived from differential gene duplications or deletions after the separation of the homologous wheat genomes ~?0.5 MYA. The higher number of full-length intact a-gliadin genes in hexaploid wheat than that in wild emmer suggests that human selection through domestication might have an impact on a-gliadin evolution. Our study provides insights into the rapid and dynamic evolution of genomic regions harboring the a-gliadin genes in wheat.


April 21, 2020  |  

Reduced chromatin accessibility underlies gene expression differences in homologous chromosome arms of hexaploid wheat and diploid Aegilops tauschii

Polyploidy has been centrally important in driving the evolution of plants, and leads to alterations in gene expression that are thought to underlie the emergence of new traits. Despite the common occurrence of these global patterns of altered gene expression in polyploids, the mechanisms involved are not well understood. Using a precise framework of highly conserved syntenic genes on hexaploid wheat chromosome 3DL and its progenitor 3L chromosome arm of diploid Aegilops tauschii, we show that 70% of these genes exhibited proportionally reduced gene expression, in which expression in the hexaploid context of the 3DL genes was approximately 40% of the levels observed in diploid Ae. tauschii. Many genes showing elevated expression during later stages of grain development in wheat compared to Ae. tauschii. Gene sequence and methylation differences accounted for only a few cases of differences in gene expression. In contrast, large scale patterns of reduced chromatin accessibility of genes in the hexaploid chromosome arm compared to its diploid progenitor were correlated with observed overall reduction in gene expression and differential gene expression. Therefore, that an overall reduction in accessible chromatin underlies the major differences in gene expression that results from polyploidization.


April 21, 2020  |  

Benchmarking Transposable Element Annotation Methods for Creation of a Streamlined, Comprehensive Pipeline

Sequencing technology and assembly algorithms have matured to the point that high-quality de novo assembly is possible for large, repetitive genomes. Current assemblies traverse transposable elements (TEs) and allow for annotation of TEs. There are numerous methods for each class of elements with unknown relative performance metrics. We benchmarked existing programs based on a curated library of rice TEs. Using the most robust programs, we created a comprehensive pipeline called Extensive de-novo TE Annotator (EDTA) that produces a condensed TE library for annotations of structurally intact and fragmented elements. EDTA is open-source and freely available: https://github.com/oushujun/EDTA.List of abbreviationsTETransposable ElementsLTRLong Terminal RepeatLINELong Interspersed Nuclear ElementSINEShort Interspersed Nuclear ElementMITEMiniature Inverted Transposable ElementTIRTerminal Inverted RepeatTSDTarget Site DuplicationTPTrue PositivesFPFalse PositivesTNTrue NegativeFNFalse NegativesGRFGeneric Repeat FinderEDTAExtensive de-novo TE Annotator


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic analysis of Marinobacter sp. NP-4 and NP-6 isolated from the deep-sea oceanic crust on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Two Marinobacter sp. NP-4 and NP-6 were isolated from a deep oceanic basaltic crust at North Pond, located at the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These two strains are capable of using multiple carbon sources such as acetate, succinate, glucose and sucrose while take oxygen as a primary electron acceptor. The strain NP-4 is also able to grow anaerobically under 20?MPa, with nitrate as the electron acceptor, thus represents a piezotolerant. To explore the metabolic potentials of Marinobacter sp. NP-4 and NP-6, the complete genome of NP-4 and close-to-complete genome of NP-6 were sequenced. The genome of NP-4 contains one chromosome and two plasmids with the size of 4.6?Mb in total, and with average GC content of 57.0%. The genome of NP-6 is 4.5?Mb and consists of 6 scaffolds, with an average GC content of 57.1%. Complete glycolysis, citrate cycle and aromatics compounds degradation pathways are identified in genomes of these two strains, suggesting that they possess a heterotrophic life style. Additionally, one plasmid of NP-4 contains genes for alkane degradation, phosphonate ABC transporter and cation efflux system, enabling NP-4 extra surviving abilities. In total, genomic information of these two strains provide insights into the physiological features and adaptation strategies of Marinobacter spp. in the deep oceanic crust biosphere.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Sequence Resource of a Puccinia striiformis Isolate infecting wheatgrass.

Stripe rust caused by Puccinia striiformis is a disastrous disease of cereal crops and various grasses. To date, fourteen stripe rust genomes are publicly available, including thirteen P. striiformis f. sp. tritici and one P. striiformis f. sp. hordei. In this study, one isolate (11-281) of P. striiformis collected from wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), which is avirulent to most of standard differential genotypes of wheat and barley, was sequenced, assembled, and annotated. The sequences were assembled to a draft genome of 84.75 Mb, which is comparable to previously sequenced P. striiformis f. sp. tritici and P. striiformis f. sp. hordei isolates. The draft genome comprised 381 scaffolds and contained 1,829 predicted secreted proteins. The high quality draft genome of the isolate is a valuable resource in shedding light on the evolution and pathogenicity of P. striiformis.


April 21, 2020  |  

Insect genomes: progress and challenges.

In the wake of constant improvements in sequencing technologies, numerous insect genomes have been sequenced. Currently, 1219 insect genome-sequencing projects have been registered with the National Center for Biotechnology Information, including 401 that have genome assemblies and 155 with an official gene set of annotated protein-coding genes. Comparative genomics analysis showed that the expansion or contraction of gene families was associated with well-studied physiological traits such as immune system, metabolic detoxification, parasitism and polyphagy in insects. Here, we summarize the progress of insect genome sequencing, with an emphasis on how this impacts research on pest control. We begin with a brief introduction to the basic concepts of genome assembly, annotation and metrics for evaluating the quality of draft assemblies. We then provide an overview of genome information for numerous insect species, highlighting examples from prominent model organisms, agricultural pests and disease vectors. We also introduce the major insect genome databases. The increasing availability of insect genomic resources is beneficial for developing alternative pest control methods. However, many opportunities remain for developing data-mining tools that make maximal use of the available insect genome resources. Although rapid progress has been achieved, many challenges remain in the field of insect genomics. © 2019 The Royal Entomological Society.


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