July 19, 2019  |  

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to “phase 3 finished” status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes, we present here an automated approach to finishing using long-reads from the Pacific Biosciences RS (PacBio) platform. Our algorithm and associated software tool, PBJelly, (publicly available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/pb-jelly/) automates the finishing process using long sequence reads in a reference-guided assembly process. PBJelly also provides “lift-over” co-ordinate tables to easily port existing annotations to the upgraded assembly. Using PBJelly and long PacBio reads, we upgraded the draft genome sequences of a simulated Drosophila melanogaster, the version 2 draft Drosophila pseudoobscura, an assembly of the Assemblathon 2.0 budgerigar dataset, and a preliminary assembly of the Sooty mangabey. With 24× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads, we addressed 99% of gaps and were able to close 69% and improve 12% of all gaps in D. pseudoobscura. With 4× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads we saw reads address 63% of gaps in our budgerigar assembly, of which 32% were closed and 63% improved. With 6.8× mapped coverage of mangabey PacBio long-reads we addressed 97% of gaps and closed 66% of addressed gaps and improved 19%. The accuracy of gap closure was validated by comparison to Sanger sequencing on gaps from the original D. pseudoobscura draft assembly and shown to be dependent on initial reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

Advantages of Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing in high-GC content genomes.

Next-generation sequencing has become the most widely used sequencing technology in genomics research, but it has inherent drawbacks when dealing with high-GC content genomes. Recently, single-molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was introduced as a third-generation sequencing strategy to compensate for this drawback. Here, we report that the unbiased and longer read length of SMRT sequencing markedly improved genome assembly with high GC content via gap filling and repeat resolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Efficient and accurate whole genome assembly and methylome profiling of E. coli.

With the price of next generation sequencing steadily decreasing, bacterial genome assembly is now accessible to a wide range of researchers. It is therefore necessary to understand the best methods for generating a genome assembly, specifically, which combination of sequencing and bioinformatics strategies result in the most accurate assemblies. Here, we sequence three E. coli strains on the Illumina MiSeq, Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM, and Pacific Biosciences RS. We then perform genome assemblies on all three datasets alone or in combination to determine the best methods for the assembly of bacterial genomes.Three E. coli strains – BL21(DE3), Bal225, and DH5a – were sequenced to a depth of 100× on the MiSeq and Ion Torrent machines and to at least 125× on the PacBio RS. Four assembly methods were examined and compared. The previously published BL21(DE3) genome [GenBank:AM946981.2], allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of each of the BL21(DE3) assemblies. BL21(DE3) PacBio-only assemblies resulted in a 90% reduction in contigs versus short read only assemblies, while N50 numbers increased by over 7-fold. Strikingly, the number of SNPs in PacBio-only assemblies were less than half that seen with short read assemblies (~20 SNPs vs. ~50 SNPs) and indels also saw dramatic reductions (~2 indel >5 bp in PacBio-only assemblies vs. ~12 for short-read only assemblies). Assemblies that used a mixture of PacBio and short read data generally fell in between these two extremes. Use of PacBio sequencing reads also allowed us to call covalent base modifications for the three strains. Each of the strains used here had a known covalent base modification genotype, which was confirmed by PacBio sequencing.Using data generated solely from the Pacific Biosciences RS, we were able to generate the most complete and accurate de novo assemblies of E. coli strains. We found that the addition of other sequencing technology data offered no improvements over use of PacBio data alone. In addition, the sequencing data from the PacBio RS allowed for sensitive and specific calling of covalent base modifications.


July 19, 2019  |  

A benchmark study on error assessment and quality control of CCS reads derived from the PacBio RS.

PacBio RS, a newly emerging third-generation DNA sequencing platform, is based on a real-time, single-molecule, nano-nitch sequencing technology that can generate very long reads (up to 20-kb) in contrast to the shorter reads produced by the first and second generation sequencing technologies. As a new platform, it is important to assess the sequencing error rate, as well as the quality control (QC) parameters associated with the PacBio sequence data. In this study, a mixture of 10 prior known, closely related DNA amplicons were sequenced using the PacBio RS sequencing platform. After aligning Circular Consensus Sequence (CCS) reads derived from the above sequencing experiment to the known reference sequences, we found that the median error rate was 2.5% without read QC, and improved to 1.3% with an SVM based multi-parameter QC method. In addition, a De Novo assembly was used as a downstream application to evaluate the effects of different QC approaches. This benchmark study indicates that even though CCS reads are post error-corrected it is still necessary to perform appropriate QC on CCS reads in order to produce successful downstream bioinformatics analytical results.


July 19, 2019  |  

Error correction and assembly complexity of single molecule sequencing reads.

Third generation single molecule sequencing technology is poised to revolutionize genomics by en- abling the sequencing of long, individual molecules of DNA and RNA. These technologies now routinely produce reads exceeding 5,000 basepairs, and can achieve reads as long as 50,000 basepairs. Here we evaluate the limits of single molecule sequencing by assessing the impact of long read sequencing in the assembly of the human genome and 25 other important genomes across the tree of life. From this, we develop a new data-driven model using support vector regression that can accurately predict assembly performance. We also present a novel hybrid error correction algorithm for long PacBio sequencing reads that uses pre-assembled Illumina sequences for the error correction. We apply it several prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, and show it can achieve near-perfect assemblies of small genomes (< 100Mbp) and substantially improved assemblies of larger ones. All source code and the assembly model are available open-source.


July 19, 2019  |  

The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli EC958: a high quality reference sequence for the globally disseminated multidrug resistant E. coli O25b:H4-ST131 clone.

Escherichia coli ST131 is now recognised as a leading contributor to urinary tract and bloodstream infections in both community and clinical settings. Here we present the complete, annotated genome of E. coli EC958, which was isolated from the urine of a patient presenting with a urinary tract infection in the Northwest region of England and represents the most well characterised ST131 strain. Sequencing was carried out using the Pacific Biosciences platform, which provided sufficient depth and read-length to produce a complete genome without the need for other technologies. The discovery of spurious contigs within the assembly that correspond to site-specific inversions in the tail fibre regions of prophages demonstrates the potential for this technology to reveal dynamic evolutionary mechanisms. E. coli EC958 belongs to the major subgroup of ST131 strains that produce the CTX-M-15 extended spectrum ß-lactamase, are fluoroquinolone resistant and encode the fimH30 type 1 fimbrial adhesin. This subgroup includes the Indian strain NA114 and the North American strain JJ1886. A comparison of the genomes of EC958, JJ1886 and NA114 revealed that differences in the arrangement of genomic islands, prophages and other repetitive elements in the NA114 genome are not biologically relevant and are due to misassembly. The availability of a high quality uropathogenic E. coli ST131 genome provides a reference for understanding this multidrug resistant pathogen and will facilitate novel functional, comparative and clinical studies of the E. coli ST131 clonal lineage.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing and genome assembly of a clinical specimen of Loa loa, the causative agent of loiasis.

More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries.Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts.The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Reducing assembly complexity of microbial genomes with single-molecule sequencing.

The short reads output by first- and second-generation DNA sequencing instruments cannot completely reconstruct microbial chromosomes. Therefore, most genomes have been left unfinished due to the significant resources required to manually close gaps in draft assemblies. Third-generation, single-molecule sequencing addresses this problem by greatly increasing sequencing read length, which simplifies the assembly problem.To measure the benefit of single-molecule sequencing on microbial genome assembly, we sequenced and assembled the genomes of six bacteria and analyzed the repeat complexity of 2,267 complete bacteria and archaea. Our results indicate that the majority of known bacterial and archaeal genomes can be assembled without gaps, at finished-grade quality, using a single PacBio RS sequencing library. These single-library assemblies are also more accurate than typical short-read assemblies and hybrid assemblies of short and long reads.Automated assembly of long, single-molecule sequencing data reduces the cost of microbial finishing to $1,000 for most genomes, and future advances in this technology are expected to drive the cost lower. This is expected to increase the number of completed genomes, improve the quality of microbial genome databases, and enable high-fidelity, population-scale studies of pan-genomes and chromosomal organization.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence and analysis of Lactobacillus hokkaidonensis LOOC260(T), a psychrotrophic lactic acid bacterium isolated from silage.

Lactobacillus hokkaidonensis is an obligate heterofermentative lactic acid bacterium, which is isolated from Timothy grass silage in Hokkaido, a subarctic region of Japan. This bacterium is expected to be useful as a silage starter culture in cold regions because of its remarkable psychrotolerance; it can grow at temperatures as low as 4°C. To elucidate its genetic background, particularly in relation to the source of psychrotolerance, we constructed the complete genome sequence of L. hokkaidonensis LOOC260(T) using PacBio single-molecule real-time sequencing technology.The genome of LOOC260(T) comprises one circular chromosome (2.28 Mbp) and two circular plasmids: pLOOC260-1 (81.6 kbp) and pLOOC260-2 (41.0 kbp). We identified diverse mobile genetic elements, such as prophages, integrated and conjugative elements, and conjugative plasmids, which may reflect adaptation to plant-associated niches. Comparative genome analysis also detected unique genomic features, such as genes involved in pentose assimilation and NADPH generation.This is the first complete genome in the L. vaccinostercus group, which is poorly characterized, so the genomic information obtained in this study provides insight into the genetics and evolution of this group. We also found several factors that may contribute to the ability of L. hokkaidonensis to grow at cold temperatures. The results of this study will facilitate further investigation for the cold-tolerance mechanism of L. hokkaidonensis.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read single molecule sequencing to resolve tandem gene copies: The Mst77Y region on the Drosophila melanogaster Y chromosome.

The autosomal gene Mst77F of Drosophila melanogaster is essential for male fertility. In 2010, Krsticevic et al. (Genetics 184: 295-307) found 18 Y-linked copies of Mst77F (“Mst77Y”), which collectively account for 20% of the functional Mst77F-like mRNA. The Mst77Y genes were severely misassembled in the then-available genome assembly and were identified by cloning and sequencing polymerase chain reaction products. The genomic structure of the Mst77Y region and the possible existence of additional copies remained unknown. The recent publication of two long-read assemblies of D. melanogaster prompted us to reinvestigate this challenging region of the Y chromosome. We found that the Illumina Synthetic Long Reads assembly failed in the Mst77Y region, most likely because of its tandem duplication structure. The PacBio MHAP assembly of the Mst77Y region seems to be very accurate, as revealed by comparisons with the previously found Mst77Y genes, a bacterial artificial chromosome sequence, and Illumina reads of the same strain. We found that the Mst77Y region spans 96 kb and originated from a 3.4-kb transposition from chromosome 3L to the Y chromosome, followed by tandem duplications inside the Y chromosome and invasion of transposable elements, which account for 48% of its length. Twelve of the 18 Mst77Y genes found in 2010 were confirmed in the PacBio assembly, the remaining six being polymerase chain reaction-induced artifacts. There are several identical copies of some Mst77Y genes, coincidentally bringing the total copy number to 18. Besides providing a detailed picture of the Mst77Y region, our results highlight the utility of PacBio technology in assembling difficult genomic regions such as tandemly repeated genes. Copyright © 2015 Krsticevic et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Assembly and diploid architecture of an individual human genome via single-molecule technologies.

We present the first comprehensive analysis of a diploid human genome that combines single-molecule sequencing with single-molecule genome maps. Our hybrid assembly markedly improves upon the contiguity observed from traditional shotgun sequencing approaches, with scaffold N50 values approaching 30 Mb, and we identified complex structural variants (SVs) missed by other high-throughput approaches. Furthermore, by combining Illumina short-read data with long reads, we phased both single-nucleotide variants and SVs, generating haplotypes with over 99% consistency with previous trio-based studies. Our work shows that it is now possible to integrate single-molecule and high-throughput sequence data to generate de novo assembled genomes that approach reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

An improved genome reference for the African cichlid, Metriaclima zebra.

Problems associated with using draft genome assemblies are well documented and have become more pronounced with the use of short read data for de novo genome assembly. We set out to improve the draft genome assembly of the African cichlid fish, Metriaclima zebra, using a set of Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing reads corresponding to 16.5× coverage of the genome. Here we characterize the improvements that these long reads allowed us to make to the state-of-the-art draft genome previously assembled from short read data.Our new assembly closed 68 % of the existing gaps and added 90.6Mbp of new non-gap sequence to the existing draft assembly of M. zebra. Comparison of the new assembly to the sequence of several bacterial artificial chromosome clones confirmed the accuracy of the new assembly. The closure of sequence gaps revealed thousands of new exons, allowing significant improvement in gene models. We corrected one known misassembly, and identified and fixed other likely misassemblies. 63.5 Mbp (70 %) of the new sequence was classified as repetitive and the new sequence allowed for the assembly of many more transposable elements.Our improvements to the M. zebra draft genome suggest that a reasonable investment in long reads could greatly improve many comparable vertebrate draft genome assemblies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing of the desiccation-tolerant grass Oropetium thomaeum.

Plant genomes, and eukaryotic genomes in general, are typically repetitive, polyploid and heterozygous, which complicates genome assembly. The short read lengths of early Sanger and current next-generation sequencing platforms hinder assembly through complex repeat regions, and many draft and reference genomes are fragmented, lacking skewed GC and repetitive intergenic sequences, which are gaining importance due to projects like the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Here we report the whole-genome sequencing and assembly of the desiccation-tolerant grass Oropetium thomaeum. Using only single-molecule real-time sequencing, which generates long (>16?kilobases) reads with random errors, we assembled 99% (244?megabases) of the Oropetium genome into 625 contigs with an N50 length of 2.4?megabases. Oropetium is an example of a ‘near-complete’ draft genome which includes gapless coverage over gene space as well as intergenic sequences such as centromeres, telomeres, transposable elements and rRNA clusters that are typically unassembled in draft genomes. Oropetium has 28,466 protein-coding genes and 43% repeat sequences, yet with 30% more compact euchromatic regions it is the smallest known grass genome. The Oropetium genome demonstrates the utility of single-molecule real-time sequencing for assembling high-quality plant and other eukaryotic genomes, and serves as a valuable resource for the plant comparative genomics community.


July 19, 2019  |  

Quantifying influenza virus diversity and transmission in humans.

Influenza A virus is characterized by high genetic diversity. However, most of what is known about influenza evolution has come from consensus sequences sampled at the epidemiological scale that only represent the dominant virus lineage within each infected host. Less is known about the extent of within-host virus diversity and what proportion of this diversity is transmitted between individuals. To characterize virus variants that achieve sustainable transmission in new hosts, we examined within-host virus genetic diversity in household donor-recipient pairs from the first wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when seasonal H3N2 was co-circulating. Although the same variants were found in multiple members of the community, the relative frequencies of variants fluctuated, with patterns of genetic variation more similar within than between households. We estimated the effective population size of influenza A virus across donor-recipient pairs to be approximately 100-200 contributing members, which enabled the transmission of multiple lineages, including antigenic variants.


July 19, 2019  |  

A method for near full-length amplification and sequencing for six hepatitis C virus genotypes.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a rapidly evolving RNA virus that has been classified into seven genotypes. All HCV genotypes cause chronic hepatitis, which ultimately leads to liver diseases such as cirrhosis. The genotypes are unevenly distributed across the globe, with genotypes 1 and 3 being the most prevalent. Until recently, molecular epidemiological studies of HCV evolution within the host and at the population level have been limited to the analyses of partial viral genome segments, as it has been technically challenging to amplify and sequence the full-length of the 9.6 kb HCV genome. Although recent improvements have been made in full genome sequencing methodologies, these protocols are still either limited to a specific genotype or cost-inefficient.In this study we describe a genotype-specific protocol for the amplification and sequencing of the near-full length genome of all six major HCV genotypes. We applied this protocol to 122 HCV positive clinical samples, and had a successful genome amplification rate of 90 %, when the viral load was greater than 15,000 IU/ml. The assay was shown to have a detection limit of 1-3 cDNA copies per reaction. The method was tested with both Illumina and PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing technologies. Illumina sequencing resulted in deep coverage and allowed detection of rare variants as well as HCV co-infection with multiple genotypes. The application of the method with PacBio RS resulted in sequence reads greater than 9 kb that covered the near full-length HCV amplicon in a single read and enabled analysis of the near full-length quasispecies.The protocol described herein can be utilised for rapid amplification and sequencing of the near-full length HCV genome in a cost efficient manner suitable for a wide range of applications.


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