Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385294

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees Against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Workflows for rapid functional annotation of diverse arthropod genomes

item SAHA, SURYA - Cornell University
item COOKSEY, AMANDA - University Of Arizona
item Childers, Anna
item Poelchau, Monica
item MCCARTHY, FIONA - University Of Arizona

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2021
Publication Date: 8/19/2021
Citation: Saha, S., Cooksey, A., Childers, A.K., Poelchau, M.F., Mccarthy, F.M. 2021. Workflows for rapid functional annotation of diverse arthropod genomes. Insects. 12(8):748.

Interpretive Summary: Genomic technologies are accumulating information about genes at a faster rate than ever before, and sequencing initiatives like the Earth Biogenome Project, i5k and Ag100Pest are expected to increase this rate of acquisition. However, if genomic sequencing is to be used for improvement of human health, agriculture and our understanding of biological systems, it is necessary to identify genes and understand how they contribute to biological outcomes. While there are several well-established workflows for assembling genomic sequences and identifying genes, understanding gene function is essential to create actionable knowledge. Moreover this functional annotation process must be easily accessible and provide information at a genomic scale to keep up with new sequence data. We report a well defined workflow for rapid functional annotation of whole proteomes to produce Gene Ontology and pathways information. We test this workflow on a diverse set of arthropod genomes and compare it to common arthropod reference genomes. The workflow we described is freely and publicly available via a web interface on CyVerse or as biocontainers that can be deployed scalably on local computing systems.

Technical Abstract: Genome sequencing of a diverse array of arthropod genomes is already underway and these genomes will be used to study human health, agriculture, biodiversity and ecology. These new genomes are intended to serve as community resources and provide the foundational information that is required to apply ‘omics technologies to a more diverse set of species. However, for biologists to use these genomes to derive a better understanding of complex biological systems, requires genome annotation. Genome annotation incorporates two related but distinct processes: demarcating genes and other elements present in genome sequences (structural annotation). While there are well established and freely available workflows for structural annotation of gene identification in newly assembled genomes, workflows for providing the functional annotation required to support functional genomics studies are less well understood. Genome-scale functional annotation is required for functional modeling (enrichment, networks, etc.) and a first-pass genome-wide functional annotation effort can rapidly identify under-represented gene sets for focused community annotation efforts. We present an open source, open access and containerized pipeline for genome-scale functional annotation of insect proteomes and apply it to a diverse range of arthropod species. We show that the performance of the predictions is consistent across a set of arthropod genomes with varying assembly and annotation quality. Complete instructions for running each component of the functional annotation pipeline on the command line, a high performance computing cluster and the CyVerse Discovery Environment can be found at the readthedocs site (