Gapless Assembly of Maize Chromosomes Using Long-Read Technologies

Genome Biol. 2020 May 20;21(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s13059-020-02029-9.

Abstract

Creating gapless telomere-to-telomere assemblies of complex genomes is one of the ultimate challenges in genomics. We use two independent assemblies and an optical map-based merging pipeline to produce a maize genome (B73-Ab10) composed of 63 contigs and a contig N50 of 162 Mb. This genome includes gapless assemblies of chromosome 3 (236 Mb) and chromosome 9 (162 Mb), and 53 Mb of the Ab10 meiotic drive haplotype. The data also reveal the internal structure of seven centromeres and five heterochromatic knobs, showing that the major tandem repeat arrays (CentC, knob180, and TR-1) are discontinuous and frequently interspersed with retroelements.

Keywords: Gapless assembly; Knob structure; Long-read technology; Maize genome; Meiotic drive.