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1.  Whole-genome profiling and shotgun sequencing delivers an anchored, gene-decorated, physical map assembly of bread wheat chromosome 6A 
The Plant Journal  2014;79(2):334-347.
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most important staple food crop for 35% of the world's population. International efforts are underway to facilitate an increase in wheat production, of which the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) plays an important role. As part of this effort, we have developed a sequence-based physical map of wheat chromosome 6A using whole-genome profiling (WGP™). The bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) contig assembly tools fingerprinted contig (fpc) and linear topological contig (ltc) were used and their contig assemblies were compared. A detailed investigation of the contigs structure revealed that ltc created a highly robust assembly compared with those formed by fpc. The ltc assemblies contained 1217 contigs for the short arm and 1113 contigs for the long arm, with an L50 of 1 Mb. To facilitate in silico anchoring, WGP™ tags underlying BAC contigs were extended by wheat and wheat progenitor genome sequence information. Sequence data were used for in silico anchoring against genetic markers with known sequences, of which almost 79% of the physical map could be anchored. Moreover, the assigned sequence information led to the ‘decoration’ of the respective physical map with 3359 anchored genes. Thus, this robust and genetically anchored physical map will serve as a framework for the sequencing of wheat chromosome 6A, and is of immediate use for map-based isolation of agronomically important genes/quantitative trait loci located on this chromosome.
PMCID: PMC4241024  PMID: 24813060
bread wheat chromosome 6A; whole-genome profiling; linear topological contigs; anchored physical map; bacterial artificial chromosome contigs; technical advance
2.  A Physical Map of the Short Arm of Wheat Chromosome 1A 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80272.
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has a large and highly repetitive genome which poses major technical challenges for its study. To aid map-based cloning and future genome sequencing projects, we constructed a BAC-based physical map of the short arm of wheat chromosome 1A (1AS). From the assembly of 25,918 high information content (HICF) fingerprints from a 1AS-specific BAC library, 715 physical contigs were produced that cover almost 99% of the estimated size of the chromosome arm. The 3,414 BAC clones constituting the minimum tiling path were end-sequenced. Using a gene microarray containing ∼40 K NCBI UniGene EST clusters, PCR marker screening and BAC end sequences, we arranged 160 physical contigs (97 Mb or 35.3% of the chromosome arm) in a virtual order based on synteny with Brachypodium, rice and sorghum. BAC end sequences and information from microarray hybridisation was used to anchor 3.8 Mbp of Illumina sequences from flow-sorted chromosome 1AS to BAC contigs. Comparison of genetic and synteny-based physical maps indicated that ∼50% of all genetic recombination is confined to 14% of the physical length of the chromosome arm in the distal region. The 1AS physical map provides a framework for future genetic mapping projects as well as the basis for complete sequencing of chromosome arm 1AS.
PMCID: PMC3836966  PMID: 24278269
3.  A high density physical map of chromosome 1BL supports evolutionary studies, map-based cloning and sequencing in wheat 
Genome Biology  2013;14(6):R64.
As for other major crops, achieving a complete wheat genome sequence is essential for the application of genomics to breeding new and improved varieties. To overcome the complexities of the large, highly repetitive and hexaploid wheat genome, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium established a chromosome-based strategy that was validated by the construction of the physical map of chromosome 3B. Here, we present improved strategies for the construction of highly integrated and ordered wheat physical maps, using chromosome 1BL as a template, and illustrate their potential for evolutionary studies and map-based cloning.
Using a combination of novel high throughput marker assays and an assembly program, we developed a high quality physical map representing 93% of wheat chromosome 1BL, anchored and ordered with 5,489 markers including 1,161 genes. Analysis of the gene space organization and evolution revealed that gene distribution and conservation along the chromosome results from the superimposition of the ancestral grass and recent wheat evolutionary patterns, leading to a peak of synteny in the central part of the chromosome arm and an increased density of non-collinear genes towards the telomere. With a density of about 11 markers per Mb, the 1BL physical map provides 916 markers, including 193 genes, for fine mapping the 40 QTLs mapped on this chromosome.
Here, we demonstrate that high marker density physical maps can be developed in complex genomes such as wheat to accelerate map-based cloning, gain new insights into genome evolution, and provide a foundation for reference sequencing.
PMCID: PMC4054855  PMID: 23800011
chromosome 1BL; evolution; gene space; grasses; hexaploid wheat; map-based cloning; physical mapping; sequencing; synteny
4.  Physical Mapping Integrated with Syntenic Analysis to Characterize the Gene Space of the Long Arm of Wheat Chromosome 1A 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59542.
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the most important crops worldwide and its production faces pressing challenges, the solution of which demands genome information. However, the large, highly repetitive hexaploid wheat genome has been considered intractable to standard sequencing approaches. Therefore the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) proposes to map and sequence the genome on a chromosome-by-chromosome basis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have constructed a physical map of the long arm of bread wheat chromosome 1A using chromosome-specific BAC libraries by High Information Content Fingerprinting (HICF). Two alternative methods (FPC and LTC) were used to assemble the fingerprints into a high-resolution physical map of the chromosome arm. A total of 365 molecular markers were added to the map, in addition to 1122 putative unique transcripts that were identified by microarray hybridization. The final map consists of 1180 FPC-based or 583 LTC-based contigs.
The physical map presented here marks an important step forward in mapping of hexaploid bread wheat. The map is orders of magnitude more detailed than previously available maps of this chromosome, and the assignment of over a thousand putative expressed gene sequences to specific map locations will greatly assist future functional studies. This map will be an essential tool for future sequencing of and positional cloning within chromosome 1A.
PMCID: PMC3628912  PMID: 23613713
5.  Intraspecific sequence comparisons reveal similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in the B and D genomes of bread wheat 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:155.
Polyploidization is considered one of the main mechanisms of plant genome evolution. The presence of multiple copies of the same gene reduces selection pressure and permits sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization leading to plant diversification, adaptation and speciation. In bread wheat, polyploidization and the prevalence of transposable elements resulted in massive gene duplication and movement. As a result, the number of genes which are non-collinear to genomes of related species seems markedly increased in wheat.
We used new-generation sequencing (NGS) to generate sequence of a Mb-sized region from wheat chromosome arm 3DS. Sequence assembly of 24 BAC clones resulted in two scaffolds of 1,264,820 and 333,768 bases. The sequence was annotated and compared to the homoeologous region on wheat chromosome 3B and orthologous loci of Brachypodium distachyon and rice. Among 39 coding sequences in the 3DS scaffolds, 32 have a homoeolog on chromosome 3B. In contrast, only fifteen and fourteen orthologs were identified in the corresponding regions in rice and Brachypodium, respectively. Interestingly, five pseudogenes were identified among the non-collinear coding sequences at the 3B locus, while none was found at the 3DS locus.
Direct comparison of two Mb-sized regions of the B and D genomes of bread wheat revealed similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in both genomes with a majority of gene duplications occurring before their divergence. Relatively low proportion of pseudogenes was identified among non-collinear coding sequences. Our data suggest that the pseudogenes did not originate from insertion of non-functional copies, but were formed later during the evolution of hexaploid wheat. Some evidence was found for gene erosion along the B genome locus.
PMCID: PMC3445842  PMID: 22935214
Wheat; BAC sequencing; Homoeologous genomes; Gene duplication; Non-collinear genes; Allopolyploidy
6.  Chromosomes in the flow to simplify genome analysis 
Functional & Integrative Genomics  2012;12(3):397-416.
Nuclear genomes of human, animals, and plants are organized into subunits called chromosomes. When isolated into aqueous suspension, mitotic chromosomes can be classified using flow cytometry according to light scatter and fluorescence parameters. Chromosomes of interest can be purified by flow sorting if they can be resolved from other chromosomes in a karyotype. The analysis and sorting are carried out at rates of 102–104 chromosomes per second, and for complex genomes such as wheat the flow sorting technology has been ground-breaking in reducing genome complexity for genome sequencing. The high sample rate provides an attractive approach for karyotype analysis (flow karyotyping) and the purification of chromosomes in large numbers. In characterizing the chromosome complement of an organism, the high number that can be studied using flow cytometry allows for a statistically accurate analysis. Chromosome sorting plays a particularly important role in the analysis of nuclear genome structure and the analysis of particular and aberrant chromosomes. Other attractive but not well-explored features include the analysis of chromosomal proteins, chromosome ultrastructure, and high-resolution mapping using FISH. Recent results demonstrate that chromosome flow sorting can be coupled seamlessly with DNA array and next-generation sequencing technologies for high-throughput analyses. The main advantages are targeting the analysis to a genome region of interest and a significant reduction in sample complexity. As flow sorters can also sort single copies of chromosomes, shotgun sequencing DNA amplified from them enables the production of haplotype-resolved genome sequences. This review explains the principles of flow cytometric chromosome analysis and sorting (flow cytogenetics), discusses the major uses of this technology in genome analysis, and outlines future directions.
PMCID: PMC3431466  PMID: 22895700
Chromosome sorting; Chromosome-specific BAC libraries; Chromosome sequencing; Chromosome genomics; Genome complexity reduction; Flow cytometry; Physical mapping
7.  Genomic Diversity in Two Related Plant Species with and without Sex Chromosomes - Silene latifolia and S. vulgaris 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31898.
Genome size evolution is a complex process influenced by polyploidization, satellite DNA accumulation, and expansion of retroelements. How this process could be affected by different reproductive strategies is still poorly understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed differences in the number and distribution of major repetitive DNA elements in two closely related species, Silene latifolia and S. vulgaris. Both species are diploid and possess the same chromosome number (2n = 24), but differ in their genome size and mode of reproduction. The dioecious S. latifolia (1C = 2.70 pg DNA) possesses sex chromosomes and its genome is 2.5× larger than that of the gynodioecious S. vulgaris (1C = 1.13 pg DNA), which does not possess sex chromosomes. We discovered that the genome of S. latifolia is larger mainly due to the expansion of Ogre retrotransposons. Surprisingly, the centromeric STAR-C and TR1 tandem repeats were found to be more abundant in S. vulgaris, the species with the smaller genome. We further examined the distribution of major repetitive sequences in related species in the Caryophyllaceae family. The results of FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) on mitotic chromosomes with the Retand element indicate that large rearrangements occurred during the evolution of the Caryophyllaceae family.
Our data demonstrate that the evolution of genome size in the genus Silene is accompanied by the expansion of different repetitive elements with specific patterns in the dioecious species possessing the sex chromosomes.
PMCID: PMC3290532  PMID: 22393373
8.  BAC Libraries from Wheat Chromosome 7D: Efficient Tool for Positional Cloning of Aphid Resistance Genes 
Positional cloning in bread wheat is a tedious task due to its huge genome size and hexaploid character. BAC libraries represent an essential tool for positional cloning. However, wheat BAC libraries comprise more than million clones, which makes their screening very laborious. Here, we present a targeted approach based on chromosome-specific BAC libraries. Such libraries were constructed from flow-sorted arms of wheat chromosome 7D. A library from the short arm (7DS) consisting of 49,152 clones with 113 kb insert size represented 12.1 arm equivalents whereas a library from the long arm (7DL) comprised 50,304 clones of 116 kb providing 14.9x arm coverage. The 7DS library was PCR screened with markers linked to Russian wheat aphid resistance gene DnCI2401, the 7DL library was screened by hybridization with a probe linked to greenbug resistance gene Gb3. The small number of clones combined with high coverage made the screening highly efficient and cost effective.
PMCID: PMC3035010  PMID: 21318113
9.  Structure and evolution of Apetala3, a sex-linked gene in Silene latifolia 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:180.
The evolution of sex chromosomes is often accompanied by gene or chromosome rearrangements. Recently, the gene AP3 was characterized in the dioecious plant species Silene latifolia. It was suggested that this gene had been transferred from an autosome to the Y chromosome.
In the present study we provide evidence for the existence of an X linked copy of the AP3 gene. We further show that the Y copy is probably located in a chromosomal region where recombination restriction occurred during the first steps of sex chromosome evolution. A comparison of X and Y copies did not reveal any clear signs of degenerative processes in exon regions. Instead, both X and Y copies show evidence for relaxed selection compared to the autosomal orthologues in S. vulgaris and S. conica. We further found that promoter sequences differ significantly. Comparison of the genic region of AP3 between the X and Y alleles and the corresponding autosomal copies in the gynodioecious species S. vulgaris revealed a massive accumulation of retrotransposons within one intron of the Y copy of AP3. Analysis of the genomic distribution of these repetitive elements does not indicate that these elements played an important role in the size increase characteristic of the Y chromosome. However, in silico expression analysis shows biased expression of individual domains of the identified retroelements in male plants.
We characterized the structure and evolution of AP3, a sex linked gene with copies on the X and Y chromosomes in the dioecious plant S. latifolia. These copies showed complementary expression patterns and relaxed evolution at protein level compared to autosomal orthologues, which suggests subfunctionalization. One intron of the Y-linked allele was invaded by retrotransposons that display sex-specific expression patterns that are similar to the expression pattern of the corresponding allele, which suggests that these transposable elements may have influenced evolution of expression patterns of the Y copy. These data could help researchers decipher the role of transposable elements in degenerative processes during sex chromosome evolution.
PMCID: PMC3095310  PMID: 20718967
10.  Feasibility of physical map construction from fingerprinted bacterial artificial chromosome libraries of polyploid plant species 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:122.
The presence of closely related genomes in polyploid species makes the assembly of total genomic sequence from shotgun sequence reads produced by the current sequencing platforms exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. Genomes of polyploid species could be sequenced following the ordered-clone sequencing approach employing contigs of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones and BAC-based physical maps. Although BAC contigs can currently be constructed for virtually any diploid organism with the SNaPshot high-information-content-fingerprinting (HICF) technology, it is currently unknown if this is also true for polyploid species. It is possible that BAC clones from orthologous regions of homoeologous chromosomes would share numerous restriction fragments and be therefore included into common contigs. Because of this and other concerns, physical mapping utilizing the SNaPshot HICF of BAC libraries of polyploid species has not been pursued and the possibility of doing so has not been assessed. The sole exception has been in common wheat, an allohexaploid in which it is possible to construct single-chromosome or single-chromosome-arm BAC libraries from DNA of flow-sorted chromosomes and bypass the obstacles created by polyploidy.
The potential of the SNaPshot HICF technology for physical mapping of polyploid plants utilizing global BAC libraries was evaluated by assembling contigs of fingerprinted clones in an in silico merged BAC library composed of single-chromosome libraries of two wheat homoeologous chromosome arms, 3AS and 3DS, and complete chromosome 3B. Because the chromosome arm origin of each clone was known, it was possible to estimate the fidelity of contig assembly. On average 97.78% or more clones, depending on the library, were from a single chromosome arm. A large portion of the remaining clones was shown to be library contamination from other chromosomes, a feature that is unavoidable during the construction of single-chromosome BAC libraries.
The negligibly low level of incorporation of clones from homoeologous chromosome arms into a contig during contig assembly suggested that it is feasible to construct contigs and physical maps using global BAC libraries of wheat and almost certainly also of other plant polyploid species with genome sizes comparable to that of wheat. Because of the high purity of the resulting assembled contigs, they can be directly used for genome sequencing. It is currently unknown but possible that equally good BAC contigs can be also constructed for polyploid species containing smaller, more gene-rich genomes.
PMCID: PMC2836288  PMID: 20170511
11.  A first survey of the rye (Secale cereale) genome composition through BAC end sequencing of the short arm of chromosome 1R 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:95.
Rye (Secale cereale L.) belongs to tribe Triticeae and is an important temperate cereal. It is one of the parents of man-made species Triticale and has been used as a source of agronomically important genes for wheat improvement. The short arm of rye chromosome 1 (1RS), in particular is rich in useful genes, and as it may increase yield, protein content and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress, it has been introgressed into wheat as the 1BL.1RS translocation. A better knowledge of the rye genome could facilitate rye improvement and increase the efficiency of utilizing rye genes in wheat breeding.
Here, we report on BAC end sequencing of 1,536 clones from two 1RS-specific BAC libraries. We obtained 2,778 (90.4%) useful sequences with a cumulative length of 2,032,538 bp and an average read length of 732 bp. These sequences represent 0.5% of 1RS arm. The GC content of the sequenced fraction of 1RS is 45.9%, and at least 84% of the 1RS arm consists of repetitive DNA. We identified transposable element junctions in BESs and developed insertion site based polymorphism markers (ISBP). Out of the 64 primer pairs tested, 17 (26.6%) were specific for 1RS. We also identified BESs carrying microsatellites suitable for development of 1RS-specific SSR markers.
This work demonstrates the utility of chromosome arm-specific BAC libraries for targeted analysis of large Triticeae genomes and provides new sequence data from the rye genome and molecular markers for the short arm of rye chromosome 1.
PMCID: PMC2565679  PMID: 18803819
12.  Coupling amplified DNA from flow-sorted chromosomes to high-density SNP mapping in barley 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:294.
Flow cytometry facilitates sorting of single chromosomes and chromosome arms which can be used for targeted genome analysis. However, the recovery of microgram amounts of DNA needed for some assays requires sorting of millions of chromosomes which is laborious and time consuming. Yet, many genomic applications such as development of genetic maps or physical mapping do not require large DNA fragments. In such cases time-consuming de novo sorting can be minimized by utilizing whole-genome amplification.
Here we report a protocol optimized in barley including amplification of DNA from only ten thousand chromosomes, which can be isolated in less than one hour. Flow-sorted chromosomes were treated with proteinase K and amplified using Phi29 multiple displacement amplification (MDA). Overnight amplification in a 20-microlitre reaction produced 3.7 – 5.7 micrograms DNA with a majority of products between 5 and 30 kb. To determine the purity of sorted fractions and potential amplification bias we used quantitative PCR for specific genes on each chromosome. To extend the analysis to a whole genome level we performed an oligonucleotide pool assay (OPA) for interrogation of 1524 loci, of which 1153 loci had known genetic map positions. Analysis of unamplified genomic DNA of barley cv. Akcent using this OPA resulted in 1426 markers with present calls. Comparison with three replicates of amplified genomic DNA revealed >99% concordance. DNA samples from amplified chromosome 1H and a fraction containing chromosomes 2H – 7H were examined. In addition to loci with known map positions, 349 loci with unknown map positions were included. Based on this analysis 40 new loci were mapped to 1H.
The results indicate a significant potential of using this approach for physical mapping. Moreover, the study showed that multiple displacement amplification of flow-sorted chromosomes is highly efficient and representative which considerably expands the potential of chromosome flow sorting in plant genomics.
PMCID: PMC2453526  PMID: 18565235
13.  A novel resource for genomics of Triticeae: BAC library specific for the short arm of rye (Secale cereale L.) chromosome 1R (1RS) 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:237.
Genomics of rye (Secale cereale L.) is impeded by its large nuclear genome (1C~7,900 Mbp) with prevalence of DNA repeats (> 90%). An attractive possibility is to dissect the genome to small parts after flow sorting particular chromosomes and chromosome arms. To test this approach, we have chosen 1RS chromosome arm, which represents only 5.6% of the total rye genome. The 1RS arm is an attractive target as it carries many important genes and because it became part of the wheat gene pool as the 1BL.1RS translocation.
We demonstrate that it is possible to sort 1RS arm from wheat-rye ditelosomic addition line. Using this approach, we isolated over 10 million of 1RS arms using flow sorting and used their DNA to construct a 1RS-specific BAC library, which comprises 103,680 clones with average insert size of 73 kb. The library comprises two sublibraries constructed using HindIII and EcoRI and provides a deep coverage of about 14-fold of the 1RS arm (442 Mbp). We present preliminary results obtained during positional cloning of the stem rust resistance gene SrR, which confirm a potential of the library to speed up isolation of agronomically important genes by map-based cloning.
We present a strategy that enables sorting short arms of several chromosomes of rye. Using flow-sorted chromosomes, we have constructed a deep coverage BAC library specific for the short arm of chromosome 1R (1RS). This is the first subgenomic BAC library available for rye and we demonstrate its potential for positional gene cloning. We expect that the library will facilitate development of a physical contig map of 1RS and comparative genomics of the homoeologous chromosome group 1 of wheat, barley and rye.
PMCID: PMC2410134  PMID: 18495015

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