NGI is still up and running during the Covid-19 pandemic, but we are experiencing some limitations in terms of personnel and key reagents. Each NGI node is following its respective host university recommendations and will continue operation until further notice.
The Illumina NovaSeq 6000 system is the largest of the Illumina sequencing instruments, able to run two flow cells independently of each other and generate massive sequencing depth at competitive prices.
The SciLifeLab National Genomics Infrastructure (NGI) has been awarded the high profile “Essential Open Source Software for Science” grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The grant will be used to fund coordination and events for the Nextflow and nf-core projects.
Novel sequences (NSs), not present in the human reference genome, are abundant and remain largely unexplored. Here, we utilize de novo assembly to study NS in 1,000 Swedish individuals first sequenced as part of the SweGen project revealing a total of 46 Mb in 61,044 distinct contigs of sequences not present in GRCh38. The contigs were aligned to recently published catalogs of Icelandic and Pan-African NSs, as well as the chimpanzee genome, revealing a great diversity of shared sequences. Analyzing the positioning of NS across the chimpanzee genome, we find that 2,807 NS align confidently within 143 chimpanzee orthologs of human genes. Aligning the whole genome sequencing data to the chimpanzee genome, we discover ancestral NS common throughout the Swedish population. The NSs were searched for repeats and repeat elements: revealing a majority of repetitive sequence (56%), and enrichment of simple repeats (28%) and satellites (15%). Lastly, we align the unmappable reads of a subset of the thousand genomes data to our collection of NS, as well as the previously published Pan-African NS: revealing that both the Swedish and Pan-African NS are widespread, and that the Swedish NSs are largely a subset of the Pan-African NS. Overall, these results highlight the importance of creating a more diverse reference genome and illustrate that significant amounts of the NS may be of ancestral origin.
CREBBP and WDR 24 Identified as Candidate Genes for Quantitative Variation in Red-Brown Plumage Colouration in the Chicken.
J Fogelholm, R Henriksen, A Höglund, N Huq, M Johnsson, R Lenz, P Jensen, D Wright
Sci Rep, 10 (1) 2045-2322 (2020)
Plumage colouration in birds is important for a plethora of reasons, ranging from camouflage, sexual signalling, and species recognition. The genes underlying colour variation have been vital in understanding how genes can affect a phenotype. Multiple genes have been identified that affect plumage variation, but research has principally focused on major-effect genes (such as those causing albinism, barring, and the like), rather than the smaller effect modifier loci that more subtly influence colour. By utilising a domestic × wild advanced intercross with a combination of classical QTL mapping of red colouration as a quantitative trait and a targeted genetical genomics approach, we have identified five separate candidate genes (CREBBP, WDR24, ARL8A, PHLDA3, LAD1) that putatively influence quantitative variation in red-brown colouration in chickens. By treating colour as a quantitative rather than qualitative trait, we have identified both QTL and genes of small effect. Such small effect loci are potentially far more prevalent in wild populations, and can therefore potentially be highly relevant to colour evolution.
Cell Type-Specific Expression of Testis Elevated Genes Based on Transcriptomics and Antibody-Based Proteomics.
C Pineau, F Hikmet, C Zhang, P Oksvold, S Chen, L Fagerberg, M Uhlén, C Lindskog
J. Proteome Res., 18 (12) 1535-3907 (2019)
One of the most complex organs in the human body is the testis, where spermatogenesis takes place. This physiological process involves thousands of genes and proteins that are activated and repressed, making testis the organ with the highest number of tissue-specific genes. However, the function of a large proportion of the corresponding proteins remains unknown and testis harbors many missing proteins (MPs), defined as products of protein-coding genes that lack experimental mass spectrometry evidence. Here, an integrated omics approach was used for exploring the cell type-specific protein expression of genes with an elevated expression in testis. By combining genome-wide transcriptomics analysis with immunohistochemistry, more than 500 proteins with distinct testicular protein expression patterns were identified, and these were selected for in-depth characterization of their in situ expression in eight different testicular cell types. The cell type-specific protein expression patterns allowed us to identify six distinct clusters of expression at different stages of spermatogenesis. The analysis highlighted numerous poorly characterized proteins in each of these clusters whose expression overlapped with that of known proteins involved in spermatogenesis, including 85 proteins with an unknown function and 60 proteins that previously have been classified as MPs. Furthermore, we were able to characterize the in situ distribution of several proteins that previously lacked spatial information and cell type-specific expression within the testis. The testis elevated expression levels both at the RNA and protein levels suggest that these proteins are related to testis-specific functions. In summary, the study demonstrates the power of combining genome-wide transcriptomics analysis with antibody-based protein profiling to explore the cell type-specific expression of both well-known proteins and MPs. The analyzed proteins constitute important targets for further testis-specific research in male reproductive disorders.
Complete genomes of two extinct New Zealand passerines show responses to climate fluctuations but no evidence for genomic erosion prior to extinction.
N Dussex, J von Seth, M Knapp, O Kardailsky, BC Robertson, L Dalén
Biol. Lett., 15 (9) 1744-957X (2019)
Human intervention, pre-human climate change (or a combination of both), as well as genetic effects, contribute to species extinctions. While many species from oceanic islands have gone extinct due to direct human impacts, the effects of pre-human climate change and human settlement on the genomic diversity of insular species and the role that loss of genomic diversity played in their extinctions remains largely unexplored. To address this question, we sequenced whole genomes of two extinct New Zealand passerines, the huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) and South Island kōkako (Callaeas cinereus). Both species showed similar demographic trajectories throughout the Pleistocene. However, the South Island kōkako continued to decline after the last glaciation, while the huia experienced some recovery. Moreover, there was no indication of inbreeding resulting from recent mating among closely related individuals in either species. This latter result indicates that population fragmentation associated with forest clearing by Maōri may not have been strong enough to lead to an increase in inbreeding and exposure to genomic erosion. While genomic erosion may not have directly contributed to their extinctions, further habitat fragmentation and the introduction of mammalian predators by Europeans may have been an important driver of extinction in huia and South Island kōkako.
Protein and DNA methylation-based scores as surrogate markers for interferon system activation in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome
A Björk, E Richardsdotter Andersson, J Imgenberg-Kreuz, GE Thorlacius, J Mofors, AC Syvänen, M Kvarnström, G Nordmark, M Wahren-Herlenius
RMD Open, 6 (1) 2056-5933 (2020)
Standard assessment of interferon (IFN) system activity in systemic rheumatic diseases depends on the availability of RNA samples. In this study, we describe and evaluate alternative methods using plasma, serum and DNA samples, exemplified in the IFN-driven disease primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS).
Patients with pSS seropositive or negative for anti-SSA/SSB and controls were included. Protein-based IFN (pIFN) scores were calculated from levels of PD-1, CXCL9 and CXCL10. DNA methylation-based (DNAm) IFN scores were calculated from DNAm levels at RSAD2, IFIT1 and IFI44L. Scores were compared with mRNA-based IFN scores measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR), Nanostring or RNA sequencing (RNAseq).
mRNA-based IFN scores displayed strong correlations between B cells and monocytes (r=0.93 and 0.95, p<0.0001) and between qPCR and Nanostring measurements (r=0.92 and 0.92, p<0.0001). The pIFN score in plasma and serum was higher in patients compared with controls (p<0.0001) and correlated well with mRNA-based IFN scores (r=0.62-0.79, p<0.0001), as well as with each other (r=0.94, p<0.0001). Concordance of classification as 'high' or 'low' IFN signature between the pIFN score and mRNA-based IFN scores ranged from 79.5% to 88.6%, and the pIFN score was effective at classifying patients and controls (area under the curve, AUC=0.89-0.93, p<0.0001). The DNAm IFN score showed strong correlation to the RNAseq IFN score (r=0.84, p<0.0001) and performed well in classifying patients and controls (AUC=0.96, p<0.0001).
We describe novel methods of assessing IFN system activity in plasma, serum or DNA samples, which may prove particularly valuable in studies where RNA samples are not available.
In wheatears and related species ('open-habitat chats'), molecular phylogenetics has led to a comprehensively revised understanding of species relationships and species diversity. Phylogenetic analyses have suggested that, in many cases, phenotypic similarities do not reflect species' relationships, revealing traditionally defined genera as non-monophyletic. This led to the suggestion of pervasive parallel evolution of open-habitat chats' plumage coloration and ecological phenotypes. However, to date, the molecular evidence for the phylogenetic relationships among open-habitat chats is mainly limited to mitochondrial DNA. Here, we assessed whether the mitochondrial relationships are supported by genome-wide data. To this end, we reconstructed the species tree among 14 open-habitat chat taxa using multi-species coalescent analyses based on ~1'300 SNPs. Our results confirm previous ones based chiefly on mitochondrial DNA; notably the paraphyly of the Oenanthe lugens complex and the clustering of individual species formerly placed in the genera Cercomela and Myrmecocichla within Oenanthe. Since several variable morphological and ecological characteristics occur in multiple places across the open-habitat chat phylogeny, our study consolidates the evidence for pervasive parallel evolution in the plumage coloration and ecology of open-habitat chats.