Sequencing of a QTL-rich region of the Theobroma cacao genome using pooled BACs and the identification of trait specific candidate genes

Clemson University Genomics Institute, Clemson University, 51 New Cherry Street, Clemson, SC 29634, USA.
BMC Genomics (Impact Factor: 3.99). 07/2011; 12(1):379. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-379
Source: PubMed


BAC-based physical maps provide for sequencing across an entire genome or a selected sub-genomic region of biological interest. Such a region can be approached with next-generation whole-genome sequencing and assembly as if it were an independent small genome. Using the minimum tiling path as a guide, specific BAC clones representing the prioritized genomic interval are selected, pooled, and used to prepare a sequencing library.
This pooled BAC approach was taken to sequence and assemble a QTL-rich region, of ~3 Mbp and represented by twenty-seven BACs, on linkage group 5 of the Theobroma cacao cv. Matina 1-6 genome. Using various mixtures of read coverages from paired-end and linear 454 libraries, multiple assemblies of varied quality were generated. Quality was assessed by comparing the assembly of 454 reads with a subset of ten BACs individually sequenced and assembled using Sanger reads. A mixture of reads optimal for assembly was identified. We found, furthermore, that a quality assembly suitable for serving as a reference genome template could be obtained even with a reduced depth of sequencing coverage. Annotation of the resulting assembly revealed several genes potentially responsible for three T. cacao traits: black pod disease resistance, bean shape index, and pod weight.
Our results, as with other pooled BAC sequencing reports, suggest that pooling portions of a minimum tiling path derived from a BAC-based physical map is an effective method to target sub-genomic regions for sequencing. While we focused on a single QTL region, other QTL regions of importance could be similarly sequenced allowing for biological discovery to take place before a high quality whole-genome assembly is completed.

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