Nanopore sequencing and assembly of a human genome with ultra-long reads

Nature Biotechnology    Published: 29 January 2018

Abstract:We report the sequencing and assembly of a reference genome for the human GM12878 Utah/Ceph cell line using the MinION (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) nanopore sequencer. 91.2 Gb of sequence data, representing ~30× theoretical coverage, were produced. Reference-based alignment enabled detection of large structural variants and epigenetic modifications. De novo assembly of nanopore reads alone yielded a contiguous assembly (NG50 ~3 Mb). We developed a protocol to generate ultra-long reads (N50 > 100 kb, read lengths up to 882 kb). Incorporating an additional 5× coverage of these ultra-long reads more than doubled the assembly contiguity (NG50 ~6.4 Mb). The final assembled genome was 2,867 million bases in size, covering 85.8% of the reference. Assembly accuracy, after incorporating complementary short-read sequencing data, exceeded 99.8%. Ultra-long reads enabled assembly and phasing of the 4-Mb major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus in its entirety, measurement of telomere repeat length, and closure of gaps in the reference human genome assembly GRCh38.

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The axolotl genome and the evolution of key tissue formation regulators

Nature          Published: 24 January 2018

Abstract:Salamanders serve as important tetrapod models for developmental, regeneration and evolutionary studies. An extensive molecular toolkit makes the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) a key representative salamander for molecular investigations. Here we report the sequencing and assembly of the 32-gigabase-pair axolotl genome using an approach that combined long-read sequencing, optical mapping and development of a new genome assembler (MARVEL). We observed a size expansion of introns and intergenic regions, largely attributable to multiplication of long terminal repeat retroelements. We provide evidence that intron size in developmental genes is under constraint and that species-restricted genes may contribute to limb regeneration. The axolotl genome assembly does not contain the essential developmental gene Pax3. However, mutation of the axolotl Pax3 paralogue Pax7 resulted in an axolotl phenotype that was similar to those seen in Pax3/ and Pax7/ mutant mice. The axolotl genome provides a rich biological resource for developmental and evolutionary studies.

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The genome of Schmidtea mediterranea and the evolution of core cellular mechanisms

Nature          Published: 24 January 2018

AbstractThe planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is an important model for stem cell research and regeneration, but adequate genome resources for this species have been lacking. Here we report a highly contiguous genome assembly of S. mediterranea, using long-read sequencing and a de novo assembler (MARVEL) enhanced for low-complexity reads. The S. mediterranea genome is highly polymorphic and repetitive, and harbours a novel class of giant retroelements. Furthermore, the genome assembly lacks a number of highly conserved genes, including critical components of the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint, but planarians maintain checkpoint function. Our genome assembly provides a key model system resource that will be useful for studying regeneration and the evolutionary plasticity of core cell biological mechanisms.

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The sea lamprey germline genome provides insights into programmed genome rearrangement and vertebrate evolution

Nature Genetics        Published: 22 January 2018

AbstractThe sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) serves as a comparative model for reconstructing vertebrate evolution. To enable more informed analyses, we developed a new assembly of the lamprey germline genome that integrates several complementary data sets. Analysis of this highly contiguous (chromosome-scale) assembly shows that both chromosomal and whole-genome duplications have played significant roles in the evolution of ancestral vertebrate and lamprey genomes, including chromosomes that carry the six lamprey HOX clusters. The assembly also contains several hundred genes that are reproducibly eliminated from somatic cells during early development in lamprey. Comparative analyses show that gnathostome (mouse) homologs of these genes are frequently marked by polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) in embryonic stem cells, suggesting overlaps in the regulatory logic of somatic DNA elimination and bivalent states that are regulated by early embryonic PRCs. This new assembly will enhance diverse studies that are informed by lampreys’ unique biology and evolutionary/comparative perspective.

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The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) genome provides insights into fruit quality and ovule developmental biology

Plant Biotechnology Journal         Published: 22 December 2017

Abstract:Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) has an ancient cultivation history and has become an emerging profitable fruit crop due to its attractive features such as the bright red appearance and the high abundance of medicinally valuable ellagitannin-based compounds in its peel and aril. However, the limited genomic resources have restricted further elucidation of genetics and evolution of these interesting traits. Here, we report a 274-Mb high-quality draft pomegranate genome sequence, which covers approximately 81.5% of the estimated 336-Mb genome, consists of 2177 scaffolds with an N50 size of 1.7 Mb and contains 30 903 genes. Phylogenomic analysis supported that pomegranate belongs to the Lythraceae family rather than the monogeneric Punicaceae family, and comparative analyses showed that pomegranate and Eucalyptus grandis share the paleotetraploidy event. Integrated genomic and transcriptomic analyses provided insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of ellagitannin-based compounds, the colour formation in both peels and arils during pomegranate fruit development, and the unique ovule development processes that are characteristic of pomegranate. This genome sequence provides an important resource to expand our understanding of some unique biological processes and to facilitate both comparative biology studies and crop breeding.

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