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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Detection of rare variants among nuclei populating the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal model species Rhizophagus irregularis DAOM197198

Manyara, David; Sanchez-Garcia, Marisol; Montoliu-Nerin, Merce; Rosling, Anna


Identifying genuine polymorphic variants is a significant challenge in sequence data analysis, although detecting low-frequency variants in sequence data is essential for estimating demographic parameters and investigating genetic processes, such as selection, within populations. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are multinucleate organisms, in which individual nuclei collectively operate as a population, and the extent of genetic variation across nuclei has long been an area of scientific interest. In this study, we investigated the patterns of polymorphism discovery and the alternate allele frequency distribution by comparing polymorphism discovery in 2 distinct genomic sequence datasets of the AM fungus model species, Rhizophagus irregularis strain DAOM197198. The 2 datasets used in this study are publicly available and were generated either from pooled spores and hyphae or amplified single nuclei from a single spore. We also estimated the intraorganismal variation within the DAOM197198 strain. Our results showed that the 2 datasets exhibited different frequency patterns for discovered variants. The whole-organism dataset showed a distribution spanning low-, intermediate-, and high-frequency variants, whereas the single-nucleus dataset predominantly featured low-frequency variants with smaller proportions in intermediate and high frequencies. Furthermore, single nucleotide polymorphism density estimates within both the whole organism and individual nuclei confirmed the low intraorganismal variation of the DAOM197198 strain and that most variants are rare. Our study highlights the methodological challenges associated with detecting low-frequency variants in AM fungal whole-genome sequence data and demonstrates that alternate alleles can be reliably identified in single nuclei of AM fungi.


AM fungi; pooled spores and mycelia; pooled samples; single nuclei; single spore; low-frequency variants; SNP calling; intraorganismal variation

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