Construction of a chromosome-scale long-read reference genome assembly for potato


Worldwide, the cultivated potato, Solanum tuberosum L., is the No. 1 vegetable crop and a critical food security crop. The genome sequence of DM1–3 516 R44, a doubled monoploid clone of S. tuberosum Group Phureja, was published in 2011 using a whole-genome shotgun sequencing approach with short-read sequence data. Current advanced sequencing technologies now permit generation of near-complete, high-quality chromosome-scale genome assemblies at minimal cost.


Here, we present an updated version of the DM1–3 516 R44 genome sequence (v6.1) using Oxford Nanopore Technologies long reads coupled with proximity-by-ligation scaffolding (Hi-C), yielding a chromosome-scale assembly. The new (v6.1) assembly represents 741.6 Mb of sequence (87.8%) of the estimated 844 Mb genome, of which 741.5 Mb is non-gapped with 731.2 Mb anchored to the 12 chromosomes. Use of Oxford Nanopore Technologies full-length complementary DNA sequencing enabled annotation of 32,917 high-confidence protein-coding genes encoding 44,851 gene models that had a significantly improved representation of conserved orthologs compared with the previous annotation. The new assembly has improved contiguity with a 595-fold increase in N50 contig size, 99% reduction in the number of contigs, a 44-fold increase in N50 scaffold size, and an LTR Assembly Index score of 13.56, placing it in the category of reference genome quality. The improved assembly also permitted annotation of the centromeres via alignment to sequencing reads derived from CENH3 nucleosomes.


Access to advanced sequencing technologies and improved software permitted generation of a high-quality, long-read, chromosome-scale assembly and improved annotation dataset for the reference genotype of potato that will facilitate research aimed at improving agronomic traits and understanding genome evolution.

Authors: Gina M Pham, John P Hamilton, Joshua C Wood, Joseph T Burke, Hainan Zhao, Brieanne Vaillancourt, Shujun Ou, Jiming Jiang, C Robin Buell