De novo PacBio long-read and phased avian genome assemblies correct and add to reference genes generated with intermediate and short reads.
ABSTRACT: Reference-quality genomes are expected to provide a resource for studying gene structure, function, and evolution. However, often genes of interest are not completely or accurately assembled, leading to unknown errors in analyses or additional cloning efforts for the correct sequences. A promising solution is long-read sequencing. Here we tested PacBio-based long-read sequencing and diploid assembly for potential improvements to the Sanger-based intermediate-read zebra finch reference and Illumina-based short-read Anna's hummingbird reference, 2 vocal learning avian species widely studied in neuroscience and genomics. With DNA of the same individuals used to generate the reference genomes, we generated diploid assemblies with the FALCON-Unzip assembler, resulting in contigs with no gaps in the megabase range, representing 150-fold and 200-fold improvements over the current zebra finch and hummingbird references, respectively. These long-read and phased assemblies corrected and resolved what we discovered to be numerous misassemblies in the references, including missing sequences in gaps, erroneous sequences flanking gaps, base call errors in difficult-to-sequence regions, complex repeat structure errors, and allelic differences between the 2 haplotypes. These improvements were validated by single long-genome and transcriptome reads and resulted for the first time in completely resolved protein-coding genes widely studied in neuroscience and specialized in vocal learning species. These findings demonstrate the impact of long reads, sequencing of previously difficult-to-sequence regions, and phasing of haplotypes on generating the high-quality assemblies necessary for understanding gene structure, function, and evolution.
Project description:Problems associated with using draft genome assemblies are well documented and have become more pronounced with the use of short read data for de novo genome assembly. We set out to improve the draft genome assembly of the African cichlid fish, Metriaclima zebra, using a set of Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing reads corresponding to 16.5× coverage of the genome. Here we characterize the improvements that these long reads allowed us to make to the state-of-the-art draft genome previously assembled from short read data.Our new assembly closed 68% of the existing gaps and added 90.6 Mbp of new non-gap sequence to the existing draft assembly of M. zebra. Comparison of the new assembly to the sequence of several bacterial artificial chromosome clones confirmed the accuracy of the new assembly. The closure of sequence gaps revealed thousands of new exons, allowing significant improvement in gene models. We corrected one known misassembly, and identified and fixed other likely misassemblies. 63.5 Mbp (70%) of the new sequence was classified as repetitive and the new sequence allowed for the assembly of many more transposable elements.Our improvements to the M. zebra draft genome suggest that a reasonable investment in long reads could greatly improve many comparable vertebrate draft genome assemblies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Parrots belong to a group of behaviorally advanced vertebrates and have an advanced ability of vocal learning relative to other vocal-learning birds. They can imitate human speech, synchronize their body movements to a rhythmic beat, and understand complex concepts of referential meaning to sounds. However, little is known about the genetics of these traits. Elucidating the genetic bases would require whole genome sequencing and a robust assembly of a parrot genome. FINDINGS:We present a genomic resource for the budgerigar, an Australian Parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus) -- the most widely studied parrot species in neuroscience and behavior. We present genomic sequence data that includes over 300× raw read coverage from multiple sequencing technologies and chromosome optical maps from a single male animal. The reads and optical maps were used to create three hybrid assemblies representing some of the largest genomic scaffolds to date for a bird; two of which were annotated based on similarities to reference sets of non-redundant human, zebra finch and chicken proteins, and budgerigar transcriptome sequence assemblies. The sequence reads for this project were in part generated and used for both the Assemblathon 2 competition and the first de novo assembly of a giga-scale vertebrate genome utilizing PacBio single-molecule sequencing. CONCLUSIONS:Across several quality metrics, these budgerigar assemblies are comparable to or better than the chicken and zebra finch genome assemblies built from traditional Sanger sequencing reads, and are sufficient to analyze regions that are difficult to sequence and assemble, including those not yet assembled in prior bird genomes, and promoter regions of genes differentially regulated in vocal learning brain regions. This work provides valuable data and material for genome technology development and for investigating the genomics of complex behavioral traits.
Project description:TransRate is a tool for reference-free quality assessment of de novo transcriptome assemblies. Using only the sequenced reads and the assembly as input, we show that multiple common artifacts of de novo transcriptome assembly can be readily detected. These include chimeras, structural errors, incomplete assembly, and base errors. TransRate evaluates these errors to produce a diagnostic quality score for each contig, and these contig scores are integrated to evaluate whole assemblies. Thus, TransRate can be used for de novo assembly filtering and optimization as well as comparison of assemblies generated using different methods from the same input reads. Applying the method to a data set of 155 published de novo transcriptome assemblies, we deconstruct the contribution that assembly method, read length, read quantity, and read quality make to the accuracy of de novo transcriptome assemblies and reveal that variance in the quality of the input data explains 43% of the variance in the quality of published de novo transcriptome assemblies. Because TransRate is reference-free, it is suitable for assessment of assemblies of all types of RNA, including assemblies of long noncoding RNA, rRNA, mRNA, and mixed RNA samples.
Project description:Avian genomes have perplexed researchers by being conservative in both size and rearrangements, while simultaneously holding the blueprints for a massive species radiation during the last 65 million years (My). Transposable elements (TEs) in bird genomes are relatively scarce but have been implicated as important hotspots for chromosomal inversions. In zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons have proliferated and are positively associated with chromosomal breakpoint regions. Here, we present the genome, karyotype and transposons of blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus), an African songbird that diverged from zebra finch at the root of estrildid finches 10 million years ago (Mya). This constitutes the third linked-read sequenced genome assembly and fourth in-depth curated TE library of any bird. Exploration of TE diversity on this brief evolutionary timescale constitutes a considerable increase in resolution for avian TE biology and allowed us to uncover 4.5 Mb more LTR retrotransposons in the zebra finch genome. In blue-capped cordon-bleu, we likewise observed a recent LTR accumulation indicating that this is a shared feature of Estrildidae. Curiously, we discovered 25 new endogenous retrovirus-like LTR retrotransposon families of which at least 21 are present in zebra finch but were previously undiscovered. This highlights the importance of studying close relatives of model organisms.
Project description:Despite continuous updates of the human reference genome, there are still hundreds of unresolved gaps which account for about 5% of the total sequence length. Given the availability of whole genome de novo assemblies, especially those derived from long-read sequencing data, gap-closing sequences can be determined. By comparing 17 de novo long-read sequencing assemblies with the human reference genome, we identified a total of 1,125 gap-closing sequences for 132 (16.9% of 783) gaps and added up to 2.2 Mb novel sequences to the human reference genome. More than 90% of the non-redundant sequences could be verified by unmapped reads from the Simons Genome Diversity Project dataset. In addition, 15.6% of the non-reference sequences were found in at least one of four non-human primate genomes. We further demonstrated that the non-redundant sequences had high content of simple repeats and satellite sequences. Moreover, 43 (32.6%) of the 132 closed gaps were shown to be polymorphic; such sequences may play an important biological role and can be useful in the investigation of human genetic diversity.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Zebra finches are a major model organism for investigating mechanisms of vocal learning, a trait that enables spoken language in humans. The development of cDNA collections with expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and microarrays has allowed for extensive molecular characterizations of circuitry underlying vocal learning and production. However, poor database curation can lead to errors in transcriptome and bioinformatics analyses, limiting the impact of these resources. Here we used genomic alignments and synteny analysis for orthology verification to curate and reannotate?~?35% of the oligonucleotides and corresponding ESTs/cDNAs that make-up Agilent microarrays for gene expression analysis in finches. DATA DESCRIPTION:We found that: (1) 5475 out of 43,084 oligos (a) failed to align to the zebra finch genome, (b) aligned to multiple loci, or (c) aligned to Chr_un only, and thus need to be flagged until a better genome assembly is available, or (d) reflect cloning artifacts; (2) Out of 9635 valid oligos examined further, 3120 were incorrectly named, including 1533 with no known orthologs; and (3) 2635 oligos required name update. The resulting curated dataset provides a reference for correcting gene identification errors in previous finch microarrays studies, and avoiding such errors in future studies.
Project description:The wide availability of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and an abundance of open-source software have made detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in bacterial genomes an increasingly accessible and effective tool for comparative analyses. Thus, ensuring that real nucleotide differences between genomes (i.e., true SNPs) are detected at high rates and that the influences of errors (such as false positive SNPs, ambiguously called sites, and gaps) are mitigated is of utmost importance. The choices researchers make regarding the generation and analysis of WGS data can greatly influence the accuracy of short-read sequence alignments and, therefore, the efficacy of such experiments. We studied the effects of some of these choices, including: i) depth of sequencing coverage, ii) choice of reference-guided short-read sequence assembler, iii) choice of reference genome, and iv) whether to perform read-quality filtering and trimming, on our ability to detect true SNPs and on the frequencies of errors. We performed benchmarking experiments, during which we assembled simulated and real Listeria monocytogenes strain 08-5578 short-read sequence datasets of varying quality with four commonly used assemblers (BWA, MOSAIK, Novoalign, and SMALT), using reference genomes of varying genetic distances, and with or without read pre-processing (i.e., quality filtering and trimming). We found that assemblies of at least 50-fold coverage provided the most accurate results. In addition, MOSAIK yielded the fewest errors when reads were aligned to a nearly identical reference genome, while using SMALT to align reads against a reference sequence that is ?0.82% distant from 08-5578 at the nucleotide level resulted in the detection of the greatest numbers of true SNPs and the fewest errors. Finally, we show that whether read pre-processing improves SNP detection depends upon the choice of reference sequence and assembler. In total, this study demonstrates that researchers should test a variety of conditions to achieve optimal results.
Project description:Learned bird songs are often characterized by a high degree of variation between individuals and sometimes between populations, while at the same time maintaining species specificity. The evolution of such songs depends on the balance between plasticity and constraints. Captive populations provide an opportunity to examine signal variation and differentiation in detail, so we analyzed adult male zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) songs recorded from 13 populations across the world, including one sample of songs from wild-caught males in their native Australia. Cluster analysis suggested some, albeit limited, evidence that zebra finch song units belonged to universal, species-wide categories, linked to restrictions in vocal production and non-song parts of the vocal repertoire. Across populations, songs also showed some syntactical structure, although any song unit could be placed anywhere within the song. On the other hand, there was a statistically significant differentiation between populations, but the effect size was very small, and its communicative significance dubious. Our results suggest that variation in zebra finch songs within a population is largely determined by species-wide constraints rather than population-specific features. Although captive zebra finch populations have been sufficiently isolated to allow them to genetically diverge, there does not appear to have been any divergence in the genetically determined constraints that underlie song learning. Perhaps more surprising is the lack of locally diverged cultural traditions. Zebra finches serve as an example of a system where frequent learning errors may rapidly create within-population diversity, within broad phonological and syntactical constraints, and prevent the formation of long-term cultural traditions that allow populations to diverge.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In short-read DNA sequencing experiments, the read coverage is a key parameter to successfully assemble the reads and reconstruct the sequence of the input DNA. When coverage is very low, the original sequence reconstruction from the reads can be difficult because of the occurrence of uncovered gaps. Reference guided assembly can then improve these assemblies. However, when the available reference is phylogenetically distant from the sequencing reads, the mapping rate of the reads can be extremely low. Some recent improvements in read mapping approaches aim at modifying the reference according to the reads dynamically. Such approaches can significantly improve the alignment rate of the reads onto distant references but the processing of insertions and deletions remains challenging. RESULTS:Here, we introduce a new algorithm to update the reference sequence according to previously aligned reads. Substitutions, insertions and deletions are performed in the reference sequence dynamically. We evaluate this approach to assemble a western-grey kangaroo mitochondrial amplicon. Our results show that more reads can be aligned and that this method produces assemblies of length comparable to the truth while limiting error rate when classic approaches fail to recover the correct length. Finally, we discuss how the core algorithm of this method could be improved and combined with other approaches to analyse larger genomic sequences. CONCLUSIONS:We introduced an algorithm to perform dynamic alignment of reads on a distant reference. We showed that such approach can improve the reconstruction of an amplicon compared to classically used bioinformatic pipelines. Although not portable to genomic scale in the current form, we suggested several improvements to be investigated to make this method more flexible and allow dynamic alignment to be used for large genome assemblies.
Project description:Improvements in long-read data and scaffolding technologies have enabled rapid generation of reference-quality assemblies for complex genomes. Still, an assessment of critical sequence depth and read length is important for allocating limited resources. To this end, we have generated eight assemblies for the complex genome of the maize inbred line NC358 using PacBio datasets ranging from 20 to 75?×?genomic depth and with N50 subread lengths of 11-21?kb. Assemblies with ?30?×?depth and N50 subread length of 11?kb are highly fragmented, with even low-copy genic regions showing degradation at 20?×?depth. Distinct sequence-quality thresholds are observed for complete assembly of genes, transposable elements, and highly repetitive genomic features such as telomeres, heterochromatic knobs, and centromeres. In addition, we show high-quality optical maps can dramatically improve contiguity in even our most fragmented base assembly. This study provides a useful resource allocation reference to the community as long-read technologies continue to mature.