High-quality and complete reference genome assemblies are fundamental for the application of genomics to biology, disease, and biodiversity conservation. However, such assemblies are available for only a few non-microbial species1–4. To address this issue, the international Genome 10K (G10K) consortium5,6 has worked over a five-year period to evaluate and develop cost-effective methods for assembling highly accurate and nearly complete reference genomes. Here we present lessons learned from generating assemblies for 16 species that represent six major vertebrate lineages. We confirm that long-read sequencing technologies are essential for maximizing genome quality, and that unresolved complex repeats and haplotype heterozygosity are major sources of assembly error when not handled correctly. Our assemblies correct substantial errors, add missing sequence in some of the best historical reference genomes, and reveal biological discoveries. These include the identification of many false gene duplications, increases in gene sizes, chromosome rearrangements that are specific to lineages, a repeated independent chromosome breakpoint in bat genomes, and a canonical GC-rich pattern in protein-coding genes and their regulatory regions. Adopting these lessons, we have embarked on the Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP), an international effort to generate high-quality, complete reference genomes for all of the roughly 70,000 extant vertebrate species and to help to enable a new era of discovery across the life sciences.
Authors: Lauren M. Lui, Torben N. Nielsen, Adam P. Arkin
Date Added: May 7, 2021
Authors: Lauren M. Lui, Torben N. Nielsen, Adam P. Arkin
Metagenomics facilitates the study of the genetic information from uncultured microbes and complex microbial communities. Assembling complete genomes from metagenomics data is difficult because most samples have high organismal complexity and strain diversity. Some studies have attempted to extract complete bacterial, archaeal, and viral genomes and often focus on species with circular genomes so they can help confirm completeness with circularity. However, less than 100 circularized bacterial and archaeal genomes have been assembled and published from metagenomics data despite the thousands of datasets that are available. Circularized genomes are important for (1) building a reference collection as scaffolds for future assemblies, (2) providing complete gene content of a genome, (3) confirming little or no contamination of a genome, (4) studying the genomic context and synteny of genes, and (5) linking protein coding genes to ribosomal RNA genes to aid metabolic inference in 16S rRNA gene sequencing studies. We developed a semi-automated method called Jorg to help circularize small bacterial, archaeal, and viral genomes using iterative assembly, binning, and read mapping. In addition, this method exposes potential misassemblies from k-mer based assemblies. We chose species of the Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) to focus our initial efforts because they have small genomes and are only known to have one ribosomal RNA operon. In addition to 34 circular CPR genomes, we present one circular Margulisbacteria genome, one circular Chloroflexi genome, and two circular megaphage genomes from 19 public and published datasets. We demonstrate findings that would likely be difficult without circularizing genomes, including that ribosomal genes are likely not operonic in the majority of CPR, and that some CPR harbor diverged forms of RNase P RNA. Code and a tutorial for this method is available at https://github.com/lmlui/Jorg and is available on the DOE Systems Biology KnowledgeBase as a beta app.
Assembly and publication of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome in January 2020 enabled the immediate development of tests to detect the new virus. This began the largest global testing programme in history, in which hundreds of millions of individuals have been tested to date. The unprecedented scale of testing has driven innovation in the strategies, technologies and concepts that govern testing in public health. This Review describes the changing role of testing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of genomic surveillance to track SARS-CoV-2 transmission around the world, the use of contact tracing to contain disease outbreaks and testing for the presence of the virus circulating in the environment. Despite these efforts, widespread community transmission has become entrenched in many countries and has required the testing of populations to identify and isolate infected individuals, many of whom are asymptomatic. The diagnostic and epidemiological principles that underpin such population-scale testing are also considered, as are the high-throughput and point-of-care technologies that make testing feasible on a massive scale.
Abstract There is an expectation that analyses of molecular sequences might be able to distinguish between alternative hypotheses for ancient relationships, but the phylogenetic methods used and types of data analyzed are of critical importance in any attempt to recover historical signal. Here we discuss some common issues that can influence the topology of trees obtained when using overly-simple models to analyze molecular data that often display complicated patterns of sequence heterogeneity. To illustrate our discussion, we have used three examples of inferred relationships which have changed radically as models and methods of analysis have improved. In two of these examples, the sister-group relationship between thermophilic Thermus and mesophilic Deinococcus, and the position of long-branch Microsporidia among eukaryotes, we show that recovering what is now generally considered to be the correct tree is critically dependent on the fit between model and data. In the third example, the position of eukaryotes in the tree of life, the hypothesis that is currently supported by the best available methods is fundamentally different from the classical view of relationships between major cellular domains. Since heterogeneity appears to be pervasive and varied among all molecular sequence data, and even the best available models can still struggle to deal with some problems, the issues we discuss are generally relevant to phylogenetic analyses. It remains essential to maintain a critical attitude to all trees as hypotheses of relationship that may change with more data and better methods.