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  1. Abstract

    The genusQuercus, which emerged ∼55 million years ago during globally warm temperatures, diversified into ∼450 extant species. We present a high-quality de novo genome assembly of a California endemic oak,Quercus lobata, revealing features consistent with oak evolutionary success. Effective population size remained large throughout history despite declining since early Miocene. Analysis of 39,373 mapped protein-coding genes outlined copious duplications consistent with genetic and phenotypic diversity, both by retention of genes created during the ancient γ whole genome hexaploid duplication event and by tandem duplication within families, including numerous resistance genes and a very large block of duplicated DUF247 genes, which have been found to be associated with self-incompatibility in grasses. An additional surprising finding is that subcontext-specific patterns of DNA methylation associated with transposable elements reveal broadly-distributed heterochromatin in intergenic regions, similar to grasses. Collectively, these features promote genetic and phenotypic variation that would facilitate adaptability to changing environments.

  2. Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a major food crop and an important plant system for agricultural genetics research. However, due to the complexity and size of its allohexaploid genome, genomic resources are limited compared to other major crops. The IWGSC recently published a reference genome and associated annotation (IWGSC CS v1.0, Chinese Spring) that has been widely adopted and utilized by the wheat community. Although this reference assembly represents all three wheat subgenomes at chromosome-scale, it was derived from short reads, and thus is missing a substantial portion of the expected 16 Gbp of genomic sequence. We earlier published an independent wheat assembly (Triticum_aestivum_3.1, Chinese Spring) that came much closer in length to the expected genome size, although it was only a contig-level assembly lacking gene annotations. Here, we describe a reference-guided effort to scaffold those contigs into chromosome-length pseudomolecules, add in any missing sequence that was unique to the IWGSC CS v1.0 assembly, and annotate the resulting pseudomolecules with genes. Our updated assembly, Triticum_aestivum_4.0, contains 15.07 Gbp of non-gap sequence anchored to chromosomes, which is 1.2 Gbps more than the previous reference assembly. It includes 108,639 genes unambiguously localized to chromosomes, including over 2,000 genes that were previously unplaced.more »We also discovered more than 5,700 additional gene copies, facilitating the accurate annotation of functional gene duplications including at the Ppd-B1 photoperiod response locus.« less
  3. Abstract The current human reference genome, GRCh38, represents over 20 years of effort to generate a high-quality assembly, which has benefitted society 1,2 . However, it still has many gaps and errors, and does not represent a biological genome as it is a blend of multiple individuals 3,4 . Recently, a high-quality telomere-to-telomere reference, CHM13, was generated with the latest long-read technologies, but it was derived from a hydatidiform mole cell line with a nearly homozygous genome 5 . To address these limitations, the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium formed with the goal of creating high-quality, cost-effective, diploid genome assemblies for a pangenome reference that represents human genetic diversity 6 . Here, in our first scientific report, we determined which combination of current genome sequencing and assembly approaches yield the most complete and accurate diploid genome assembly with minimal manual curation. Approaches that used highly accurate long reads and parent–child data with graph-based haplotype phasing during assembly outperformed those that did not. Developing a combination of the top-performing methods, we generated our first high-quality diploid reference assembly, containing only approximately four gaps per chromosome on average, with most chromosomes within ±1% of the length of CHM13. Nearly 48% of protein-coding genesmore »have non-synonymous amino acid changes between haplotypes, and centromeric regions showed the highest diversity. Our findings serve as a foundation for assembling near-complete diploid human genomes at scale for a pangenome reference to capture global genetic variation from single nucleotides to structural rearrangements.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 17, 2023
  4. Understanding the genomic and environmental basis of cold adaptation is key to understand how plants survive and adapt to different environmental conditions across their natural range. Univariate and multivariate genome-wide association (GWAS) and genotype-environment association (GEA) analyses were used to test associations among genome-wide SNPs obtained from whole-genome resequencing, measures of growth, phenology, emergence, cold hardiness, and range-wide environmental variation in coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Results suggest a complex genomic architecture of cold adaptation, in which traits are either highly polygenic or controlled by both large and small effect genes. Newly discovered associations for cold adaptation in Douglas-fir included 130 genes involved in many important biological functions such as primary and secondary metabolism, growth and reproductive development, transcription regulation, stress and signaling, and DNA processes. These genes were related to growth, phenology and cold hardiness and strongly depend on variation in environmental variables such degree days below 0c, precipitation, elevation and distance from the coast. This study is a step forward in our understanding of the complex interconnection between environment and genomics and their role in cold-associated trait variation in boreal tree species, providing a baseline for the species’ predictions under climate change.
  5. We sequenced the genome of the North American groundhog, Marmota monax , also known as the woodchuck. Our sequencing strategy included a combination of short, high-quality Illumina reads plus long reads generated by both Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore instruments. Assembly of the combined data produced a genome of 2.74 Gbp in total length, with an N50 contig size of 1,094,236 bp. To annotate the genome, we mapped the genes from another M. monax genome and from the closely related Alpine marmot, Marmota marmota , onto our assembly, resulting in 20,559 annotated protein-coding genes and 28,135 transcripts. The genome assembly and annotation are available in GenBank under BioProject PRJNA587092 .
  6. Abstract

    Sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the 26.5 Gbp hexaploid genome of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) was completed leading toward discovery of genes related to climate adaptation and investigation of the origin of the hexaploid genome. Deep-coverage short-read Illumina sequencing data from haploid tissue from a single seed were combined with long-read Oxford Nanopore Technologies sequencing data from diploid needle tissue to create an initial assembly, which was then scaffolded using proximity ligation data to produce a highly contiguous final assembly, SESE 2.1, with a scaffold N50 size of 44.9 Mbp. The assembly included several scaffolds that span entire chromosome arms, confirmed by the presence of telomere and centromere sequences on the ends of the scaffolds. The structural annotation produced 118,906 genes with 113 containing introns that exceed 500 Kbp in length and one reaching 2 Mb. Nearly 19 Gbp of the genome represented repetitive content with the vast majority characterized as long terminal repeats, with a 2.9:1 ratio of Copia to Gypsy elements that may aid in gene expression control. Comparison of coast redwood to other conifers revealed species-specific expansions for a plethora of abiotic and biotic stress response genes, including those involved in fungal disease resistance, detoxification, and physical injury/structural remodeling and othersmore »supporting flavonoid biosynthesis. Analysis of multiple genes that exist in triplicate in coast redwood but only once in its diploid relative, giant sequoia, supports a previous hypothesis that the hexaploidy is the result of autopolyploidy rather than any hybridizations with separate but closely related conifer species.

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  7. Abstract The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) of California are massive, long-lived trees that grow along the U.S. Sierra Nevada mountains. Genomic data are limited in giant sequoia and producing a reference genome sequence has been an important goal to allow marker development for restoration and management. Using deep-coverage Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencing, combined with Dovetail chromosome conformation capture libraries, the genome was assembled into eleven chromosome-scale scaffolds containing 8.125 Gbp of sequence. Iso-Seq transcripts, assembled from three distinct tissues, was used as evidence to annotate a total of 41,632 protein-coding genes. The genome was found to contain, distributed unevenly across all 11 chromosomes and in 63 orthogroups, over 900 complete or partial predicted NLR genes, of which 375 are supported by annotation derived from protein evidence and gene modeling. This giant sequoia reference genome sequence represents the first genome sequenced in the Cupressaceae family, and lays a foundation for using genomic tools to aid in giant sequoia conservation and management.