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Keywords:

  • conifers;
  • Pinus taeda ;
  • Pinus elliottii ;
  • sequence capture;
  • target enrichment;
  • genome complexity reduction;
  • genome de novo assembly;
  • technical advance

Summary

The large genome size of many species hinders the development and application of genomic tools to study them. For instance, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), an ecologically and economically important conifer, has a large and yet uncharacterized genome of 21.7 Gbp. To characterize the pine genome, we performed exome capture and sequencing of 14 729 genes derived from an assembly of expressed sequence tags. Efficiency of sequence capture was evaluated and shown to be similar across samples with increasing levels of complexity, including haploid cDNA, haploid genomic DNA and diploid genomic DNA. However, this efficiency was severely reduced for probes that overlapped multiple exons, presumably because intron sequences hindered probe:exon hybridizations. Such regions could not be entirely avoided during probe design, because of the lack of a reference sequence. To improve the throughput and reduce the cost of sequence capture, a method to multiplex the analysis of up to eight samples was developed. Sequence data showed that multiplexed capture was reproducible among 24 haploid samples, and can be applied for high-throughput analysis of targeted genes in large populations. Captured sequences were de novo assembled, resulting in 11 396 expanded and annotated gene models, significantly improving the knowledge about the pine gene space. Interspecific capture was also evaluated with over 98% of all probes designed from P. taeda that were efficient in sequence capture, were also suitable for analysis of the related species Pinus elliottii Engelm.