Although the genome of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, was first made available in 2005, with additional strains reported later, the intrinsic genome complexity of this parasite (the abundance of repetitive sequences and genes organized in tandem) has traditionally hindered high-quality genome assembly and annotation. This also limits diverse types of analyses that require high degrees of precision. Long reads generated by third-generation sequencing technologies are pa ...[more]
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite and the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, an important public health problem in Latin America. T. cruzi is diploid, almost exclusively asexual, and displays an extraordinarily diverse population structure both genetically and phenotypically. Yet, to date the genotypic diversity of T. cruzi and its relationship, if any, to biological diversity have not been studied at the whole genome level. In this study, we used whole genome oligonucleotide tiling arrays to compare gene content in biologically disparate T. cruzi strains by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). We observed that T. cruzi strains display widespread and focal copy number variations (CNV) and a substantially greater level of diversity than can be adequately defined by the current genetic typing methods. As expected, CNV were particularly frequent in gene family-rich regions containing mucins and trans-sialidases but were also evident in core genes. Gene groups that showed little variation in copy numbers among the strains tested included those encoding protein kinases and ribosomal proteins, suggesting these loci were less permissive to CNV. Moreover, frequent variation in chromosome copy numbers were observed, and chromosome-specific CNV signatures were shared by genetically divergent T. cruzi strains, suggesting a greater degree of chromosome exchange than previously thought. Overall design: Genomic DNA samples from 16 T. cruzi strains were compared to genomic DNA from the CL Brener strain by competitive hybridizations on whole genome oligonucleotide tiling arrays.