A first analysis of the genome sequence of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), assembled using traditional Sanger methods and Ensembl annotation, has permitted genomic comparison with apes and that old world monkeys and the identification of specific molecular features a rapid reproductive capacity partly due to may contribute to the unique biology of diminutive The common marmoset has prevalence of this dizygotic primate. twins. Remarkably, these twins share placental circulation and exchange hematopoietic stem cells in utero, resulting in adults that are hematopoietic chimeras.
We observed positive selection or non-synonymous substitutions for genes encoding growth hormone / insulin-like growth factor (growth pathways), respiratory complex I (metabolic pathways), immunobiology, and proteases (reproductive and immunity pathways). In addition, both protein-coding and microRNA genes related to reproduction exhibit rapid sequence evolution. This New World monkey genome sequence enables significantly increased power for comparative analyses among available primate genomes and facilitates biomedical research application.
Giving access to sequence and annotation data for genome assemblies is important because, while facilitating research, it places both assembly and annotation quality under scrutiny, resulting in improvements to both. Therefore we announce Avianbase, a resource for bird genomics, which provides access to data released by the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium.
The mammalian radiation has corresponded with rapid changes in noncoding regions of the genome, but we lack a comprehensive understanding of regulatory evolution in mammals. Here, we track the evolution of promoters and enhancers active in liver across 20 mammalian species from six diverse orders by profiling genomic enrichment of H3K27 acetylation and H3K4 trimethylation. We report that rapid evolution of enhancers is a universal feature of mammalian genomes. Most of the recently evolved enhancers arise from ancestral DNA exaptation, rather than lineage-specific expansions of repeat elements. In contrast, almost all liver promoters are partially or fully conserved across these species. Our data further reveal that recently evolved enhancers can be associated with genes under positive selection, demonstrating the power of this approach for annotating regulatory adaptations in genomic sequences. These results provide important insight into the functional genetics underpinning mammalian regulatory evolution.
•Rapid enhancer and slow promoter evolution across genomes of 20 mammalian species•Enhancers are rarely conserved across these mammals•Recently evolved enhancers dominate mammalian regulatory landscapes•Unbiased mapping links candidate enhancers with lineage-specific positive selection
Comparative functional genomic analysis in 20 mammalian species reveals distinct features for the evolution of enhancers, in comparison to those of promoters, across 180 million years.
The human genome reference assembly is crucial for aligning and analyzing sequence data, and for genome annotation, among other roles. However, the models and analysis assumptions that underlie the current assembly need revising to fully represent human sequence diversity. Improved analysis tools and updated data reporting formats are also required.
Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk and fiber in the form of wool, and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, which carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants, compared to non-ruminant animals.
Identifying sequence variants that play a mechanistic role in human disease and other phenotypes is a fundamental goal in human genetics and will be important in translating the results of variation studies. Experimental validation to confirm that a variant causes the biochemical changes responsible for a given disease or phenotype is considered the gold standard, but this cannot currently be applied to the 3 million or so variants expected in an individual genome. This has prompted the development of a wide variety of computational approaches that use several different sources of information to identify functional variation. Here, we review and assess the limitations of computational techniques for categorizing variants according to functional classes, prioritizing variants for experimental follow-up and generating hypotheses about the possible molecular mechanisms to inform downstream experiments. We discuss the main current bioinformatics approaches to identifying functional variation, including widely used algorithms for coding variation such as SIFT and PolyPhen and also novel techniques for interpreting variation across the genome.
Nodal signalling is an absolute requirement for normal mesoderm and endoderm formation in vertebrate embryos, yet the transcriptional networks acting directly downstream of Nodal and the extent to which they are conserved is largely unexplored, particularly in vivo. Eomesodermin also plays a role in patterning mesoderm and endoderm in vertebrates, but its mechanisms of action and how it interacts with the Nodal signalling pathway are still unclear.
Using a combination of expression analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation with deep sequencing (ChIP-seq) we identify direct targets of Smad2, the effector of Nodal signalling in blastula stage zebrafish embryos, including many novel target genes. Through comparison of these data with published ChIP-seq data in human, mouse and Xenopus we show that the transcriptional network driven by Smad2 in mesoderm and endoderm is conserved in these vertebrate species. We also show that Smad2 and zebrafish Eomesodermin a (Eomesa) bind common genomic regions proximal to genes involved in mesoderm and endoderm formation, suggesting Eomesa forms a general component of the Smad2 signalling complex in zebrafish. Combinatorial perturbation of Eomesa and Smad2-interacting factor Foxh1 results in loss of both mesoderm and endoderm markers, confirming the role of Eomesa in endoderm formation and its functional interaction with Foxh1 for correct Nodal signalling. Finally, we uncover a novel role for Eomesa in repressing ectodermal genes in the early blastula.
Our data demonstrate that evolutionarily conserved developmental functions of Nodal signalling occur through maintenance of the transcriptional network directed by Smad2. This network is modulated by Eomesa in zebrafish which acts to promote mesoderm and endoderm formation in combination with Nodal signalling, whilst Eomesa also opposes ectoderm gene expression. Eomesa, therefore, regulates the formation of all three germ layers in the early zebrafish embryo.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12915-014-0081-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Nodal; Smad2; Eomesodermin; Foxh1; Neural; Transcriptional regulation
Transcription factor binding differences can contribute to organismal evolution by altering downstream gene expression programmes. Recent genome-wide studies in Drosophila and mammals have revealed common quantitative and combinatorial properties of in vivo DNA-binding, as well as significant differences in the rate and mechanisms of metazoan transcription factor binding evolution. Here, we review the recently-discovered, rapid re-wiring of in vivo transcription factor binding between related metazoan species and summarize general principles underlying the observed patterns of evolution. We then consider what might explain genome evolution differences between metazoan phyla, and outline the conceptual and technological challenges facing the field.
Motivation: We present a Web service to access Ensembl data using Representational State Transfer (REST). The Ensembl REST server enables the easy retrieval of a wide range of Ensembl data by most programming languages, using standard formats such as JSON and FASTA while minimizing client work. We also introduce bindings to the popular Ensembl Variant Effect Predictor tool permitting large-scale programmatic variant analysis independent of any specific programming language.
Availability and implementation: The Ensembl REST API can be accessed at http://rest.ensembl.org and source code is freely available under an Apache 2.0 license from http://github.com/Ensembl/ensembl-rest.
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Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Genome-wide association studies, DNA sequencing studies, and other genomic studies are finding an increasing number of genetic variants associated with clinical phenotypes that may be useful in developing diagnostic, preventive, and treatment strategies for individual patients. However, few common variants have been integrated into routine clinical practice. The reasons for this are several, but two of the most significant are limited evidence about the clinical implications of the variants and a lack of a comprehensive knowledge base that captures genetic variants, their phenotypic associations, and other pertinent phenotypic information that is openly accessible to clinical groups attempting to interpret sequencing data. As the field of medicine begins to incorporate genome-scale analysis into clinical care, approaches need to be developed for collecting and characterizing data on the clinical implications of variants, developing consensus on their actionability, and making this information available for clinical use. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Wellcome Trust thus convened a workshop to consider the processes and resources needed to: 1) identify clinically valid genetic variants; 2) decide whether they are actionable and what the action should be; and 3) provide this information for clinical use. This commentary outlines the key discussion points and recommendations from the workshop.
genomic medicine; clinical actionability; database; electronic health records (EHR); pharmacogenomics; DNA sequencing
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) aims to catalog genomic abnormalities in tumors from 50 different cancer types. Genome sequencing reveals hundreds to thousands of somatic mutations in each tumor, but only a minority drive tumor progression. We present the result of discussions within the ICGC on how to address the challenge of identifying mutations that contribute to oncogenesis, tumor maintenance or response to therapy, and recommend computational techniques to annotate somatic variants and predict their impact on cancer phenotype.
The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) (http://www.mousephenotype.org) will reveal the pleiotropic functions of every gene in the mouse genome and uncover the wider role of genetic loci within diverse biological systems. Comprehensive informatics solutions are vital to ensuring that this vast array of data is captured in a standardised manner and made accessible to the scientific community for interrogation and analysis. Here we review the existing EuroPhenome and WTSI phenotype informatics systems and the IKMC portal, and present plans for extending these systems and lessons learned to the development of a robust IMPC informatics infrastructure.
The unique anatomical features of turtles have raised unanswered questions about the origin of their unique body plan. We generated and analyzed draft genomes of the soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); our results indicated the close relationship of the turtles to the bird-crocodilian lineage, from which they split ~267.9–248.3 million years ago (Upper Permian to Triassic). We also found extensive expansion of olfactory receptor genes in these turtles. Embryonic gene expression analysis identified an hourglass-like divergence of turtle and chicken embryogenesis, with maximal conservation around the vertebrate phylotypic period, rather than at later stages that show the amniote-common pattern. Wnt5a expression was found in the growth zone of the dorsal shell, supporting the possible co-option of limb-associated Wnt signaling in the acquisition of this turtle-specific novelty. Our results suggest that turtle evolution was accompanied by an unexpectedly conservative vertebrate phylotypic period, followed by turtle-specific repatterning of development to yield the novel structure of the shell.
Genome sequencing projects are discovering millions of genetic variants in humans, and interpretation of their functional effects is essential for understanding the genetic basis of variation in human traits. Here we report sequencing and deep analysis of mRNA and miRNA from lymphoblastoid cell lines of 462 individuals from the 1000 Genomes Project – the first uniformly processed RNA-seq data from multiple human populations with high-quality genome sequences. We discovered extremely widespread genetic variation affecting regulation of the majority of genes, with transcript structure and expression level variation being equally common but genetically largely independent. Our characterization of causal regulatory variation sheds light on cellular mechanisms of regulatory and loss-of-function variation, and allowed us to infer putative causal variants for dozens of disease-associated loci. Altogether, this study provides a deep understanding of the cellular mechanisms of transcriptome variation and of the landscape of functional variants in the human genome.
Interpreting variants, especially noncoding ones, in the increasing
number of personal genomes is challenging. We used patterns of polymorphisms in
functionally annotated regions in 1092 humans to identify deleterious variants;
then we experimentally validated candidates. We analyzed both coding and
noncoding regions, with the former corroborating the latter. We found regions
particularly sensitive to mutations (“ultrasensitive”) and
variants that are disruptive because of mechanistic effects on
transcription-factor binding (that is, “motif-breakers”). We also
found variants in regions with higher network centrality tend to be deleterious.
Insertions and deletions followed a similar pattern to single-nucleotide
variants, with some notable exceptions (e.g., certain deletions and enhancers).
On the basis of these patterns, we developed a computational tool (FunSeq),
whose application to ~90 cancer genomes reveals nearly a hundred
candidate noncoding drivers.
Genetic mapping on fully sequenced individuals is transforming our understanding of the relationship between molecular variation and variation in complex traits. Here we report a combined sequence and genetic mapping analysis in outbred rats that maps 355 quantitative trait loci for 122 phenotypes. We identify 35 causal genes involved in 31 phenotypes, implicating novel genes in models of anxiety, heart disease and multiple sclerosis. The relation between sequence and genetic variation is unexpectedly complex: at approximately 40% of quantitative trait loci a single sequence variant cannot account for the phenotypic effect. Using comparable sequence and mapping data from mice, we show the extent and spatial pattern of variation in inbred rats differ significantly from those of inbred mice, and that the genetic variants in orthologous genes rarely contribute to the same phenotype in both species.
The genomic binding of CTCF is highly conserved across mammals, but the mechanisms that underlie its stability are poorly understood. One transcription factor known to functionally interact with CTCF in the context of X-chromosome inactivation is the ubiquitously expressed YY1. Because combinatorial transcription factor binding can contribute to the evolutionary stabilization of regulatory regions, we tested whether YY1 and CTCF co-binding could in part account for conservation of CTCF binding.
Combined analysis of CTCF and YY1 binding in lymphoblastoid cell lines from seven primates, as well as in mouse and human livers, reveals extensive genome-wide co-localization specifically at evolutionarily stable CTCF-bound regions. CTCF-YY1 co-bound regions resemble regions bound by YY1 alone, as they enrich for active histone marks, RNA polymerase II and transcription factor binding. Although these highly conserved, transcriptionally active CTCF-YY1 co-bound regions are often promoter-proximal, gene-distal regions show similar molecular features.
Our results reveal that these two ubiquitously expressed, multi-functional zinc-finger proteins collaborate in functionally active regions to stabilize one another's genome-wide binding across primate evolution.
Motivation: Using high-throughput sequencing, researchers are now generating hundreds of whole-genome assays to measure various features such as transcription factor binding, histone marks, DNA methylation or RNA transcription. Displaying so much data generally leads to a confusing accumulation of plots. We describe here a multithreaded library that computes statistics on large numbers of datasets (Wiggle, BigWig, Bed, BigBed and BAM), generating statistical summaries within minutes with limited memory requirements, whether on the whole genome or on selected regions.
Availability and Implementation: The code is freely available under Apache 2.0 license at www.github.com/Ensembl/Wiggletools
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Ensembl (http://www.ensembl.org) creates tools and data resources to facilitate genomic analysis in chordate species with an emphasis on human, major vertebrate model organisms and farm animals. Over the past year we have increased the number of species that we support to 77 and expanded our genome browser with a new scrollable overview and improved variation and phenotype views. We also report updates to our core datasets and improvements to our gene homology relationships from the addition of new species. Our REST service has been extended with additional support for comparative genomics and ontology information. Finally, we provide updated information about our methods for data access and resources for user training.
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Catalog of Published Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) Catalog provides a publicly available manually curated collection of published GWAS assaying at least 100 000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and all SNP-trait associations with P <1 × 10−5. The Catalog includes 1751 curated publications of 11 912 SNPs. In addition to the SNP-trait association data, the Catalog also publishes a quarterly diagram of all SNP-trait associations mapped to the SNPs’ chromosomal locations. The Catalog can be accessed via a tabular web interface, via a dynamic visualization on the human karyotype, as a downloadable tab-delimited file and as an OWL knowledge base. This article presents a number of recent improvements to the Catalog, including novel ways for users to interact with the Catalog and changes to the curation infrastructure.
Locus Reference Genomic (LRG; http://www.lrg-sequence.org/) records contain internationally recognized stable reference sequences designed specifically for reporting clinically relevant sequence variants. Each LRG is contained within a single file consisting of a stable ‘fixed’ section and a regularly updated ‘updatable’ section. The fixed section contains stable genomic DNA sequence for a genomic region, essential transcripts and proteins for variant reporting and an exon numbering system. The updatable section contains mapping information, annotation of all transcripts and overlapping genes in the region and legacy exon and amino acid numbering systems. LRGs provide a stable framework that is vital for reporting variants, according to Human Genome Variation Society (HGVS) conventions, in genomic DNA, transcript or protein coordinates. To enable translation of information between LRG and genomic coordinates, LRGs include mapping to the human genome assembly. LRGs are compiled and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). LRG reference sequences are selected in collaboration with the diagnostic and research communities, locus-specific database curators and mutation consortia. Currently >700 LRGs have been created, of which >400 are publicly available. The aim is to create an LRG for every locus with clinical implications.
The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) web portal (http://www.mousephenotype.org) provides the biomedical community with a unified point of access to mutant mice and rich collection of related emerging and existing mouse phenotype data. IMPC mouse clinics worldwide follow rigorous highly structured and standardized protocols for the experimentation, collection and dissemination of data. Dedicated ‘data wranglers’ work with each phenotyping center to collate data and perform quality control of data. An automated statistical analysis pipeline has been developed to identify knockout strains with a significant change in the phenotype parameters. Annotation with biomedical ontologies allows biologists and clinicians to easily find mouse strains with phenotypic traits relevant to their research. Data integration with other resources will provide insights into mammalian gene function and human disease. As phenotype data become available for every gene in the mouse, the IMPC web portal will become an invaluable tool for researchers studying the genetic contributions of genes to human diseases.
Lampreys are representatives of an ancient vertebrate lineage that diverged from our own ~500 million years ago. By virtue of this deeply shared ancestry, the sea lamprey (P. marinus) genome is uniquely poised to provide insight into the ancestry of vertebrate genomes and the underlying principles of vertebrate biology. Here, we present the first lamprey whole-genome sequence and assembly. We note challenges faced owing to its high content of repetitive elements and GC bases, as well as the absence of broad-scale sequence information from closely related species. Analyses of the assembly indicate that two whole-genome duplications likely occurred before the divergence of ancestral lamprey and gnathostome lineages. Moreover, the results help define key evolutionary events within vertebrate lineages, including the origin of myelin-associated proteins and the development of appendages. The lamprey genome provides an important resource for reconstructing vertebrate origins and the evolutionary events that have shaped the genomes of extant organisms.
To mechanistically characterize the microevolutionary processes active in altering transcription factor (TF) binding among closely related mammals, we compared the genome-wide binding of three tissue-specific TFs that control liver gene expression in six rodents. Despite an overall fast turnover of TF binding locations between species, we identified thousands of TF regions of highly constrained TF binding intensity. Although individual mutations in bound sequence motifs can influence TF binding, most binding differences occur in the absence of nearby sequence variations. Instead, combinatorial binding was found to be significant for genetic and evolutionary stability; cobound TFs tend to disappear in concert and were sensitive to genetic knockout of partner TFs. The large, qualitative differences in genomic regions bound between closely related mammals, when contrasted with the smaller, quantitative TF binding differences among Drosophila species, illustrate how genome structure and population genetics together shape regulatory evolution.
•Earliest steps of regulatory evolution in mammals captured using five mouse species•Interspecies differences in TF binding are rarely caused by DNA variation in motifs•Cobound TFs change their genomic binding cooperatively in closely related mammals•Genetic knockouts revealed the extent of cooperative stabilization in TF binding clusters
Microevolutionary mechanisms create different transcription factor binding patterns between mammals, shedding light on the regulatory mechanisms partially underlying speciation.
Large numbers of inbred laboratory rat strains have been developed for a range of complex disease phenotypes. To gain insights into the evolutionary pressures underlying selection for these phenotypes, we sequenced the genomes of 27 rat strains, including 11 models of hypertension, diabetes, and insulin resistance, along with their respective control strains. Altogether, we identified more than 13 million single-nucleotide variants, indels, and structural variants across these rat strains. Analysis of strain-specific selective sweeps and gene clusters implicated genes and pathways involved in cation transport, angiotensin production, and regulators of oxidative stress in the development of cardiovascular disease phenotypes in rats. Many of the rat loci that we identified overlap with previously mapped loci for related traits in humans, indicating the presence of shared pathways underlying these phenotypes in rats and humans. These data represent a step change in resources available for evolutionary analysis of complex traits in disease models.
•Genomes of 27 rat strains were sequenced; >13 million sequence variants identified•Selective sweeps and coevolved gene clusters were detected in 11 disease models•Previously identified and new disease genes and pathways were identified•This is first evolutionary analysis of artificial selection for disease phenotypes
Evolution analysis of artificial selection for disease phenotypes, such as hypertension and diabetes, in 27 rat strains reveals disease-related variants and loci.