Advances in genomics techniques are expanding the range of nematode species that are amenable to transgenesis. Due to divergent codon usage biases across species, codon optimization is often a critical step for the successful expression of exogenous transgenes in nematodes. Platforms for generating DNA sequences codon-optimized for the free-living model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans are broadly available. However, until now such tools did not exist for non-Caenorhabditis nematodes. We therefore developed the Wild Worm Codon Adapter, a tool for rapid transgene codon optimization for expression in non-Caenorhabditis nematodes. The app includes built-in optimization for parasitic nematodes in the Strongyloides, Nippostrongylus, and Brugia genera as well as the predatory nematode Pristionchus pacificus. The app also supports custom optimization for any species using user-provided optimization rules. In addition, the app supports automated insertion of synthetic or native introns, as well as the analysis of codon bias in transgene and native sequences. Here, we describe this web-based tool and demonstrate how it may be used to analyze genome-wide codon bias in Strongyloides species.
Keywords: Brugia; Nippostrongylus; Pristionchus; Strongyloides; codon optimization; introns; nematodes; transgenesis.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Genetics Society of America.