DOI: 10.1101/455428Oct 28, 2018Paper

Definitive demonstration by synthesis of genome annotation completeness

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Paul R JaschkeDrew Endy


Bacteriophage phiX174 was the first DNA genome to be sequenced. The genome is well studied by classical methods and is known to encode 11 essential genes. At least 23 closely-related Bullavirinae genome sequences are now available. We identified 315 potential open reading frames (ORFs) within the genome via bioinformatic analysis, and a subset of 82 highly-conserved ORFs that have no known gene products or functions. Using genome scale design and synthesis we made a mutant genome in which all 11 essential genes are simultaneously disrupted, leaving intact only the 82 conserved-but- cryptic ORFs. The resulting genome is not viable, as expected. Cell-free gene expression followed by mass spectrometry revealed only a single peptide expressed from both the cryptic-ORF and wild-type genomes, suggesting a potential new gene. A second synthetic genome in which 71 conserved cryptic ORFs were simultaneously disrupted is viable but with ~50% reduced fitness relative to the wild type. However, rather than finding any new genes, repeated evolutionary adaptation revealed a single point mutation modulating translation of gene H, a known essential gene, that fully suppressed the fitness defect. Taken together, we conclude that the annotation ...Continue Reading

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