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Creators/Authors contains: "Hirsch, Candice N."

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  1. VITTE, Clémentine (Ed.)

    Structural differences between genomes are a major source of genetic variation that contributes to phenotypic differences. Transposable elements, mobile genetic sequences capable of increasing their copy number and propagating themselves within genomes, can generate structural variation. However, their repetitive nature makes it difficult to characterize fine-scale differences in their presence at specific positions, limiting our understanding of their impact on genome variation. Domesticated maize is a particularly good system for exploring the impact of transposable element proliferation as over 70% of the genome is annotated as transposable elements. High-quality transposable element annotations were recently generated forde novogenome assemblies of 26 diverse inbred maize lines. We generated base-pair resolved pairwise alignments between the B73 maize reference genome and the remaining 25 inbred maize line assemblies. From this data, we classified transposable elements as either shared or polymorphic in a given pairwise comparison. Our analysis uncovered substantial structural variation between lines, representing both simple and complex connections between TEs and structural variants. Putative insertions in SNP depleted regions, which represent recently diverged identity by state blocks, suggest some TE families may still be active. However, our analysis reveals that within these recently diverged genomic regions, deletions of transposable elements likely account for more structural variation events and base pairs than insertions. These deletions are often large structural variants containing multiple transposable elements. Combined, our results highlight how transposable elements contribute to structural variation and demonstrate that deletion events are a major contributor to genomic differences.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 22, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The highly active family of Mutator (Mu) DNA transposons has been widely used for forward and reverse genetics in maize. There are examples of Mu-suppressible alleles that result in conditional phenotypic effects based on the activity of Mu. Phenotypes from these Mu-suppressible mutations are observed in Mu-active genetic backgrounds, but absent when Mu activity is lost. For some Mu-suppressible alleles, phenotypic suppression likely results from an outward-reading promoter within Mu that is only active when the autonomous Mu element is silenced or lost. We isolated 35 Mu alleles from the UniformMu population that represent insertions in 24 different genes. Most of these mutant alleles are due to insertions within gene coding sequences, but several 5′ UTR and intron insertions were included. RNA-seq and de novo transcript assembly were utilized to document the transcripts produced from 33 of these Mu insertion alleles. For 20 of the 33 alleles, there was evidence of transcripts initiating within the Mu sequence reading through the gene. This outward-reading promoter activity was detected in multiple types of Mu elements and does not depend on the orientation of Mu. Expression analyses of Mu-initiated transcripts revealed the Mu promoter often provides gene expression levels and patterns that are similar to the wild-type gene. These results suggest the Mu promoter may represent a minimal promoter that can respond to gene cis-regulatory elements. Findings from this study have implications for maize researchers using the UniformMu population, and more broadly highlight a strategy for transposons to co-exist with their host.

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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Crop genomics has seen dramatic advances in recent years due to improvements in sequencing technology, assembly methods, and computational resources. These advances have led to the development of new tools to facilitate crop improvement. The study of structural variation within species and the characterization of the pan-genome has revealed extensive genome content variation among individuals within a species that is paradigm shifting to crop genomics and improvement. Here, we review advances in crop genomics and how utilization of these tools is shifting in light of pan-genomes that are becoming available for many crop species. 
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  4. Abstract Accessible chromatin and unmethylated DNA are associated with many genes and cis-regulatory elements. Attempts to understand natural variation for accessible chromatin regions (ACRs) and unmethylated regions (UMRs) often rely upon alignments to a single reference genome. This limits the ability to assess regions that are absent in the reference genome assembly and monitor how nearby structural variants influence variation in chromatin state. In this study, de novo genome assemblies for four maize inbreds (B73, Mo17, Oh43, and W22) are utilized to assess chromatin accessibility and DNA methylation patterns in a pan-genome context. A more complete set of UMRs and ACRs can be identified when chromatin data are aligned to the matched genome rather than a single reference genome. While there are UMRs and ACRs present within genomic regions that are not shared between genotypes, these features are 6- to 12-fold enriched within regions between genomes. Characterization of UMRs present within shared genomic regions reveals that most UMRs maintain the unmethylated state in other genotypes with only ∼5% being polymorphic between genotypes. However, the majority (71%) of UMRs that are shared between genotypes only exhibit partial overlaps suggesting that the boundaries between methylated and unmethylated DNA are dynamic. This instability is not solely due to sequence variation as these partially overlapping UMRs are frequently found within genomic regions that lack sequence variation. The ability to compare chromatin properties among individuals with structural variation enables pan-epigenome analyses to study the sources of variation for accessible chromatin and unmethylated DNA. 
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  5. Andrews, B J (Ed.)
    Abstract Intact transposable elements (TEs) account for 65% of the maize genome and can impact gene function and regulation. Although TEs comprise the majority of the maize genome and affect important phenotypes, genome-wide patterns of TE polymorphisms in maize have only been studied in a handful of maize genotypes, due to the challenging nature of assessing highly repetitive sequences. We implemented a method to use short-read sequencing data from 509 diverse inbred lines to classify the presence/absence of 445,418 nonredundant TEs that were previously annotated in four genome assemblies including B73, Mo17, PH207, and W22. Different orders of TEs (i.e., LTRs, Helitrons, and TIRs) had different frequency distributions within the population. LTRs with lower LTR similarity were generally more frequent in the population than LTRs with higher LTR similarity, though high-frequency insertions with very high LTR similarity were observed. LTR similarity and frequency estimates of nested elements and the outer elements in which they insert revealed that most nesting events occurred very near the timing of the outer element insertion. TEs within genes were at higher frequency than those that were outside of genes and this is particularly true for those not inserted into introns. Many TE insertional polymorphisms observed in this population were tagged by SNP markers. However, there were also 19.9% of the TE polymorphisms that were not well tagged by SNPs (R2 < 0.5) that potentially represent information that has not been well captured in previous SNP-based marker-trait association studies. This study provides a population scale genome-wide assessment of TE variation in maize and provides valuable insight on variation in TEs in maize and factors that contribute to this variation. 
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  6. Abstract Objectives

    This report provides information about the public release of the 2018–2019 Maize G X E project of the Genomes to Fields (G2F) Initiative datasets. G2F is an umbrella initiative that evaluates maize hybrids and inbred lines across multiple environments and makes available phenotypic, genotypic, environmental, and metadata information. The initiative understands the necessity to characterize and deploy public sources of genetic diversity to face the challenges for more sustainable agriculture in the context of variable environmental conditions.

    Data description

    Datasets include phenotypic, climatic, and soil measurements, metadata information, and inbred genotypic information for each combination of location and year. Collaborators in the G2F initiative collected data for each location and year; members of the group responsible for coordination and data processing combined all the collected information and removed obvious erroneous data. The collaborators received the data before the DOI release to verify and declare that the data generated in their own locations was accurate. ReadMe and description files are available for each dataset. Previous years of evaluation are already publicly available, with common hybrids present to connect across all locations and years evaluated since this project’s inception.

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  7. Bomblies, K (Ed.)
    Abstract Transposable elements (TEs) have the potential to create regulatory variation both through the disruption of existing DNA regulatory elements and through the creation of novel DNA regulatory elements. In a species with a large genome, such as maize, many TEs interspersed with genes create opportunities for significant allelic variation due to TE presence/absence polymorphisms among individuals. We used information on putative regulatory elements in combination with knowledge about TE polymorphisms in maize to identify TE insertions that interrupt existing accessible chromatin regions (ACRs) in B73 as well as examples of polymorphic TEs that contain ACRs among four inbred lines of maize including B73, Mo17, W22, and PH207. The TE insertions in three other assembled maize genomes (Mo17, W22, or PH207) that interrupt ACRs that are present in the B73 genome can trigger changes to the chromatin, suggesting the potential for both genetic and epigenetic influences of these insertions. Nearly 20% of the ACRs located over 2 kb from the nearest gene are located within an annotated TE. These are regions of unmethylated DNA that show evidence for functional importance similar to ACRs that are not present within TEs. Using a large panel of maize genotypes, we tested if there is an association between the presence of TE insertions that interrupt, or carry, an ACR and the expression of nearby genes. While most TE polymorphisms are not associated with expression for nearby genes, the TEs that carry ACRs exhibit enrichment for being associated with higher expression of nearby genes, suggesting that these TEs may contribute novel regulatory elements. These analyses highlight the potential for a subset of TEs to rewire transcriptional responses in eukaryotic genomes. 
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  8. null (Ed.)