Scientists teach old worms new tricks | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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Model organisms such as yeast, fruit flies, and worms have advanced the study of genomics, eukaryotic biology, and evolution. An important resource for any model organism is a near-complete reference genome from which a multitude of scientific questions can be answered. Caenorhabditis elegans have been widely studied due to their short generation time and transparent anatomy and were one of the first multicellular organisms sequenced, yet gaps in their reference genome remain.

Three studies, published today in Genome Research, provide novel insights into C. elegans genomics and gene expression. Advances in sequencing technologies toward longer reads have facilitated genome assembly, finishing, and the sequencing of highly repetitive regions. In a study by Yoshimura and colleagues, researchers used a combination of short- and long-read assemblies to generate a more complete reference genome of a modern laboratory strain of C. elegans. The new sequence has an extra two million nucleotides that were absent from the previous sequence, which include highly repetitive regions and approximately 50 new genes. Likewise, Kim and colleagues used long-read sequencing to construct a high-quality reference genome of a wild C. elegans strain for comparative studies,...
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