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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Epigenomics is the study of molecular signatures associated with discrete regions within genomes, many of which are important for a wide range of nuclear processes. The ability to profile the epigenomic landscape associated with genes, repetitive regions, transposons, transcription, differential expression, cis-regulatory elements, and 3D chromatin interactions has vastly improved our understanding of plant genomes. However, many epigenomic and single-cell genomic assays are challenging to perform in plants, leading to a wide range of data quality issues; thus, the data require rigorous evaluation prior to downstream analyses and interpretation. In this commentary, we provide considerations for the evaluation of plant epigenomics and single-cell genomics data quality with the aim of improving the quality and utility of studies using those data across diverse plant species.
  4. With growing populations and pressing environmental problems, future economies will be increasingly plant-based. Now is the time to reimagine plant science as a critical component of fundamental science, agriculture, environmental stewardship, energy, technology and healthcare. This effort requires a conceptual and technological framework to identify and map all cell types, and to comprehensively annotate the localization and organization of molecules at cellular and tissue levels. This framework, called the Plant Cell Atlas (PCA), will be critical for understanding and engineering plant development, physiology and environmental responses. A workshop was convened to discuss the purpose and utility of such an initiative, resulting in a roadmap that acknowledges the current knowledge gaps and technical challenges, and underscores how the PCA initiative can help to overcome them.
  5. We report de novo genome assemblies, transcriptomes, annotations, and methylomes for the 26 inbreds that serve as the founders for the maize nested association mapping population. The number of pan-genes in these diverse genomes exceeds 103,000, with approximately a third found across all genotypes. The results demonstrate that the ancient tetraploid character of maize continues to degrade by fractionation to the present day. Excellent contiguity over repeat arrays and complete annotation of centromeres revealed additional variation in major cytological landmarks. We show that combining structural variation with single-nucleotide polymorphisms can improve the power of quantitative mapping studies. We also document variation at the level of DNA methylation and demonstrate that unmethylated regions are enriched for cis-regulatory elements that contribute to phenotypic variation.

  6. Hufford, M (Ed.)
    Abstract Accurate genome annotations are essential to modern biology; however, they remain challenging to produce. Variation in gene structure and expression across species, as well as within an organism, make correctly annotating genes arduous; an issue exacerbated by pitfalls in current in silico methods. These issues necessitate complementary approaches to add additional confidence and rectify potential misannotations. Integration of epigenomic data into genome annotation is one such approach. In this study, we utilized sets of histone modification data, which are precisely distributed at either gene bodies or promoters to evaluate the annotation of the Zea mays genome. We leveraged these data genome wide, allowing for identification of annotations discordant with empirical data. In total, 13,159 annotation discrepancies were found in Z. mays upon integrating data across three different tissues, which were corroborated using RNA-based approaches. Upon correction, genes were extended by an average of 2128 base pairs, and we identified 2529 novel genes. Application of this method to five additional plant genomes identified a series of misannotations, as well as identified novel genes, including 13,836 in Asparagus officinalis, 2724 in Setaria viridis, 2446 in Sorghum bicolor, 8631 in Glycine max, and 2585 in Phaseolous vulgaris. This study demonstrates that histonemore »modification data can be leveraged to rapidly improve current genome annotations across diverse plant lineages.« less
  7. 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 instabilitymore »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.« less
  8. null (Ed.)