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  1. Shao, Mingfu (Ed.)
    Third-generation sequencing technologies can generate very long reads with relatively high error rates. The lengths of the reads, which sometimes exceed one million bases, make them invaluable for resolving complex repeats that cannot be assembled using shorter reads. Many high-quality genome assemblies have already been produced, curated, and annotated using the previous generation of sequencing data, and full re-assembly of these genomes with long reads is not always practical or cost-effective. One strategy to upgrade existing assemblies is to generate additional coverage using long-read data, and add that to the previously assembled contigs. SAMBA is a tool that is designed to scaffold and gap-fill existing genome assemblies with additional long-read data, resulting in substantially greater contiguity. SAMBA is the only tool of its kind that also computes and fills in the sequence for all spanned gaps in the scaffolds, yielding much longer contigs. Here we compare SAMBA to several similar tools capable of re-scaffolding assemblies using long-read data, and we show that SAMBA yields better contiguity and introduces fewer errors than competing methods. SAMBA is open-source software that is distributed at https://github.com/alekseyzimin/masurca .
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 4, 2023
  2. 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.

  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. Coaker, Gitta (Ed.)
  5. 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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  6. 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.
  7. Abstract Background The release of the first reference genome of walnut (Juglans regia L.) enabled many achievements in the characterization of walnut genetic and functional variation. However, it is highly fragmented, preventing the integration of genetic, transcriptomic, and proteomic information to fully elucidate walnut biological processes. Findings Here, we report the new chromosome-scale assembly of the walnut reference genome (Chandler v2.0) obtained by combining Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing with chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) technology. Relative to the previous reference genome, the new assembly features an 84.4-fold increase in N50 size, with the 16 chromosomal pseudomolecules assembled and representing 95% of its total length. Using full-length transcripts from single-molecule real-time sequencing, we predicted 37,554 gene models, with a mean gene length higher than the previous gene annotations. Most of the new protein-coding genes (90%) present both start and stop codons, which represents a significant improvement compared with Chandler v1.0 (only 48%). We then tested the potential impact of the new chromosome-level genome on different areas of walnut research. By studying the proteome changes occurring during male flower development, we observed that the virtual proteome obtained from Chandler v2.0 presents fewer artifacts than the previous reference genome, enabling the identification of amore »new potential pollen allergen in walnut. Also, the new chromosome-scale genome facilitates in-depth studies of intraspecies genetic diversity by revealing previously undetected autozygous regions in Chandler, likely resulting from inbreeding, and 195 genomic regions highly differentiated between Western and Eastern walnut cultivars. Conclusion Overall, Chandler v2.0 will serve as a valuable resource to better understand and explore walnut biology.« less