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Leveraging whole genome sequencing to estimate telomere length in plants
  • Michelle Zavala Paez,
  • Jason Holliday,
  • Jill Hamilton
Michelle Zavala Paez
The Pennsylvania State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jason Holliday
Virginia Tech
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Jill Hamilton
The Pennsylvania State University
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Changes in telomere length are increasingly used to indicate species’ response to environmental stress across diverse taxa. Despite this broad use, few studies have explored telomere length in plants. However, rapid advances in sequencing approaches and bioinformatic tools now allow estimation of telomere length using whole genome sequencing (WGS) data. Thus, evaluation of new approaches for measuring telomere length in plants are needed. Traditionally, telomere length has been quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). While WGS has been extensively used in humans, no study to date has compared the effectiveness of WGS in estimating telomere length in plants relative to traditional qPCR approaches. In this study, we use one hundred Populus clones re-sequenced using short-read Illumina sequencing to quantify telomere length using three different bioinformatic approaches, Computel, K-seek, and TRIP, in addition to qPCR. Overall, telomere length estimates varied across different bioinformatic approaches, but were highly correlated across methods for individual genotypes. A positive correlation was observed between WGS estimates and qPCR, however, Computel estimates exhibited the greatest correlation. Computel incorporates genome coverage into telomere length calculations, suggesting that genome coverage is likely important to telomere length quantification when using WGS data. Overall, telomere estimates from WGS provided greater precision and accuracy of telomere length estimates relative to qPCR. The findings suggest WGS is a promising approach for assessing telomere length, and as the field of telomere ecology evolves may provide added value to assaying response to biotic and abiotic environments for plants needed to accelerate plant breeding and conservation management.
02 Jun 2023Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
02 Jun 2023Submission Checks Completed
02 Jun 2023Assigned to Editor
02 Jun 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Jun 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Oct 20231st Revision Received
03 Oct 2023Submission Checks Completed
03 Oct 2023Assigned to Editor
03 Oct 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Oct 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Accept