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      Comparative RNA seq analysis of the New Zealand glowworm Arachnocampa luminosa reveals bioluminescence-related genes

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      BMC Genomics
      BioMed Central

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          The New Zealand glowworm is the larva of a carnivorous fungus gnat that produces bioluminescence to attract prey. The bioluminescent system of the glowworm is evolutionarily distinct from other well-characterised systems, especially that of the fireflies, and the molecules involved have not yet been identified. We have used high throughput sequencing technology to produce a transcriptome for the glowworm and identify transcripts encoding proteins that are likely to be involved in glowworm bioluminescence.


          Here we report the sequencing and annotation of the first transcriptome of the glowworm, and a differential analysis of expression from the glowworm light organ compared with non-light organ tissue. The analysis identified six transcripts encoding proteins that are potentially involved in glowworm bioluminescence. Three of these proteins are members of the ANL superfamily of adenylating enzymes, with similar amino acid sequences to that of the luciferase enzyme found in fireflies (31 to 37 % identical), and are candidate luciferases for the glowworm bioluminescent system. The remaining three transcripts encode putative aminoacylase, phosphatidylethanolamine-binding and glutathione S-transferase proteins.


          This research provides a basis for further biochemical studies into how the glowworm produces light, and a source of genetic information to aid future ecological and evolutionary studies of the glowworm.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-2006-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references53

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          Applications of next generation sequencing in molecular ecology of non-model organisms.

          As most biologists are probably aware, technological advances in molecular biology during the last few years have opened up possibilities to rapidly generate large-scale sequencing data from non-model organisms at a reasonable cost. In an era when virtually any study organism can 'go genomic', it is worthwhile to review how this may impact molecular ecology. The first studies to put the next generation sequencing (NGS) to the test in ecologically well-characterized species without previous genome information were published in 2007 and the beginning of 2008. Since then several studies have followed in their footsteps, and a large number are undoubtedly under way. This review focuses on how NGS has been, and can be, applied to ecological, population genetic and conservation genetic studies of non-model species, in which there is no (or very limited) genomic resources. Our aim is to draw attention to the various possibilities that are opening up using the new technologies, but we also highlight some of the pitfalls and drawbacks with these methods. We will try to provide a snapshot of the current state of the art for this rapidly advancing and expanding field of research and give some likely directions for future developments.
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            RNA-seq differential expression studies: more sequence or more replication?

            RNA-seq is replacing microarrays as the primary tool for gene expression studies. Many RNA-seq studies have used insufficient biological replicates, resulting in low statistical power and inefficient use of sequencing resources. We show the explicit trade-off between more biological replicates and deeper sequencing in increasing power to detect differentially expressed (DE) genes. In the human cell line MCF7, adding more sequencing depth after 10 M reads gives diminishing returns on power to detect DE genes, whereas adding biological replicates improves power significantly regardless of sequencing depth. We also propose a cost-effectiveness metric for guiding the design of large-scale RNA-seq DE studies. Our analysis showed that sequencing less reads and performing more biological replication is an effective strategy to increase power and accuracy in large-scale differential expression RNA-seq studies, and provided new insights into efficient experiment design of RNA-seq studies. The code used in this paper is provided on: http://home.uchicago.edu/∼jiezhou/replication/. The expression data is deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus under the accession ID GSE51403.
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              Bioluminescence in the sea.

              Bioluminescence spans all oceanic dimensions and has evolved many times--from bacteria to fish--to powerfully influence behavioral and ecosystem dynamics. New methods and technology have brought great advances in understanding of the molecular basis of bioluminescence, its physiological control, and its significance in marine communities. Novel tools derived from understanding the chemistry of natural light-producing molecules have led to countless valuable applications, culminating recently in a related Nobel Prize. Marine organisms utilize bioluminescence for vital functions ranging from defense to reproduction. To understand these interactions and the distributions of luminous organisms, new instruments and platforms allow observations on individual to oceanographic scales. This review explores recent advances, including the chemical and molecular, phylogenetic and functional, community and oceanographic aspects of bioluminescence.

                Author and article information

                BMC Genomics
                BMC Genomics
                BMC Genomics
                BioMed Central (London )
                21 October 2015
                21 October 2015
                : 16
                : 825
                [ ]Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
                [ ]Otago Genomics & Bioinformatics Facility, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
                © Sharpe et al. 2015

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 20 May 2015
                : 3 October 2015
                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2015



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