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Maize Assembly Goes Telomere to Telomere

A China Agricultural University-led team has generated a telomere-to-telomere genome assembly of the maize genome. The maize genome is known to be highly repetitive — it is estimated to contain  with more than 80 percent repetitive sequences — making it a model for complex genomes as well as a key crop. As they report in Nature Genetics, the researchers used a combination of ultralong Oxford Nanopore Technology and PacBio HiFi reads to put together their assembly of the 10 chromosomes of the Mo17 inbred maize line. In all, the assembly generated is 2,178.6 Mb in size with a high base accuracy, the researchers report. In particular, they note that they were able to disentangle various highly repetitive sequences. For instance, they generated complete assemblies for all the centromeres as well as for the entire nucleolus organizer region, which contains some 3,000 rDNA copies. With this assembly, the researchers write in their paper that they "[aimed] to uncover the complex genomic 'dark matter' and to decode the extraordinary repetitive regions of higher plant genomes.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.