August 26, 2016  |  General

Scientists Turn to SMRT Sequencing to Decode Chardonnay Genome

800px-Chardonnay_MoldovaA case study produced by QRIScloud, an Australia-based cloud computing service, offers interesting insight into a recent project that is using SMRT Sequencing to generate a reference-quality de novo genome assembly for the grape used to make Chardonnay wine.
The sequencing effort was conducted by collaborating scientists at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and the BC Genome Sciences Centre in Canada. This new assembly, which is still undergoing polishing and in-depth analysis, adds to very sparse genome resources for wine grapes. Until recently, the only genome assemblies available were draft-quality ones for the Pinot Noir varietal.
With PacBio long-read sequencing, scientists were able to create an assembly of dramatically higher quality, despite the complex, highly heterozygous genome. “Unraveling the underlying genetic complexities of grapevine and how genetic variation shapes wine quality is critical,” said Simon Schmidt, a project leader and senior research scientist at AWRI. “It can facilitate vine selection and enable the tailoring of wines by winemakers, allowing them to meet ever-changing consumer demands and access new markets.”
Schmidt added, “The combination of PacBio long-read sequencing, QRIScloud bioinformatics infrastructure and newly developed haplotype aware assembly software has already provided a high-quality draft genome.” The team is working on incorporating clone sequence data to improve quality even further.

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