skip to main content

Title: Characterization of a pericentric inversion in plateau fence lizards ( Sceloporus tristichus ): evidence from chromosome-scale genomes
Abstract Spiny lizards in the genus Sceloporus are a model system among squamate reptiles for studies of chromosomal evolution. While most pleurodont iguanians retain an ancestral karyotype formula of 2n = 36 chromosomes, Sceloporus exhibits substantial karyotype variation ranging from 2n =  22 to 46 chromosomes. We present two annotated chromosome-scale genome assemblies for the Plateau Fence Lizard (Sceloporus tristichus) to facilitate research on the role of pericentric inversion polymorphisms on adaptation and speciation. Based on previous karyotype work using conventional staining, the S. tristichus genome is characterized as 2n =  22 with six pairs of macrochromosomes and five pairs of microchromosomes and a pericentric inversion polymorphism on chromosome 7 that is geographically variable. We provide annotated, chromosome-scale genomes for two lizards located at opposite ends of a dynamic hybrid zone that are each fixed for different inversion polymorphisms. The assembled genomes are 1.84–1.87 Gb (1.72 Gb for scaffolds mapping to chromosomes) with a scaffold N50 of 267.5 Mb. Functional annotation of the genomes resulted in ∼15K predicted gene models. Our assemblies confirmed the presence of a 4.62-Mb pericentric inversion on chromosome 7, which contains 62 annotated coding genes with known functions. In addition, we collected population genomics data using double digest RAD-sequencing for 44 S. tristichus to estimate more » population structure and phylogeny across the Colorado Plateau. These new genomic resources provide opportunities to perform genomic scans and investigate the formation and spread of pericentric inversions in a naturally occurring hybrid zone. « less
Sethuraman, A
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Shapiro, Beth (Ed.)
    Abstract In addition to including one of the most popular companion animals, species from the cat family Felidae serve as a powerful system for genetic analysis of inherited and infectious disease, as well as for the study of phenotypic evolution and speciation. Previous diploid-based genome assemblies for the domestic cat have served as the primary reference for genomic studies within the cat family. However, these versions suffered from poor resolution of complex and highly repetitive regions, with substantial amounts of unplaced sequence that is polymorphic or copy number variable. We sequenced the genome of a female F1 Bengal hybrid cat, the offspring of a domestic cat (Felis catus) x Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) cross, with PacBio long sequence reads and used Illumina sequence reads from the parents to phase >99.9% of the reads into the 2 species’ haplotypes. De novo assembly of the phased reads produced highly continuous haploid genome assemblies for the domestic cat and Asian leopard cat, with contig N50 statistics exceeding 83 Mb for both genomes. Whole-genome alignments reveal the Felis and Prionailurus genomes are colinear, and the cytogenetic differences between the homologous F1 and E4 chromosomes represent a case of centromere repositioning in the absencemore »of a chromosomal inversion. Both assemblies offer significant improvements over the previous domestic cat reference genome, with a 100% increase in contiguity and the capture of the vast majority of chromosome arms in 1 or 2 large contigs. We further demonstrated that comparably accurate F1 haplotype phasing can be achieved with members of the same species when one or both parents of the trio are not available. These novel genome resources will empower studies of feline precision medicine, adaptation, and speciation.« less
  2. Abstract Background The helmeted honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops cassidix) is a Critically Endangered bird endemic to Victoria, Australia. To aid its conservation, the population is the subject of genetic rescue. To understand, monitor, and modulate the effects of genetic rescue on the helmeted honeyeater genome, a chromosome-length genome and a high-density linkage map are required. Results We used a combination of Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, and Hi-C sequencing technologies to assemble a chromosome-length genome of the helmeted honeyeater, comprising 906 scaffolds, with length of 1.1 Gb and scaffold N50 of 63.8 Mb. Annotation comprised 57,181 gene models. Using a pedigree of 257 birds and 53,111 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, we obtained high-density linkage and recombination maps for 25 autosomes and Z chromosome. The total sex-averaged linkage map was 1,347 cM long, with the male map being 6.7% longer than the female map. Recombination maps revealed sexually dimorphic recombination rates (overall higher in males), with average recombination rate of 1.8 cM/Mb. Comparative analyses revealed high synteny of the helmeted honeyeater genome with that of 3 passerine species (e.g., 32 Hi-C scaffolds mapped to 30 zebra finch autosomes and Z chromosome). The genome assembly and linkage map suggest that the helmeted honeyeater exhibits a fission ofmore »chromosome 1A into 2 chromosomes relative to zebra finch. PSMC analysis showed a ∼15-fold decline in effective population size to ∼60,000 from mid- to late Pleistocene. Conclusions The annotated chromosome-length genome and high-density linkage map provide rich resources for evolutionary studies and will be fundamental in guiding conservation efforts for the helmeted honeyeater.« less
  3. Abstract Hares (genus Lepus) provide clear examples of repeated and often massive introgressive hybridization and striking local adaptations. Genomic studies on this group have so far relied on comparisons to the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) reference genome. Here, we report the first de novo draft reference genome for a hare species, the mountain hare (Lepus timidus), and evaluate the efficacy of whole-genome re-sequencing analyses using the new reference versus using the rabbit reference genome. The genome was assembled using the ALLPATHS-LG protocol with a combination of overlapping pair and mate-pair Illumina sequencing (77x coverage). The assembly contained 32,294 scaffolds with a total length of 2.7 Gb and a scaffold N50 of 3.4 Mb. Re-scaffolding based on the rabbit reference reduced the total number of scaffolds to 4,205 with a scaffold N50 of 194 Mb. A correspondence was found between 22 of these hare scaffolds and the rabbit chromosomes, based on gene content and direct alignment. We annotated 24,578 protein coding genes by combining ab-initio predictions, homology search, and transcriptome data, of which 683 were solely derived from hare-specific transcriptome data. The hare reference genome is therefore a new resource to discover and investigate hare-specific variation. Similar estimates of heterozygosity and inferred demographic historymore »profiles were obtained when mapping hare whole-genome re-sequencing data to the new hare draft genome or to alternative references based on the rabbit genome. Our results validate previous reference-based strategies and suggest that the chromosome-scale hare draft genome should enable chromosome-wide analyses and genome scans on hares.« less
  4. Abstract The prevalent mode of reproduction among ants is arrhenotokous parthenogenesis where unfertilized eggs give rise to haploid males and fertilized eggs develop into diploid females. Some ant species are capable of thelytokous parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction where females develop from unfertilized diploid eggs. Thelytoky is well-documented in more than 20 ant species. Cytogenetic data are available for six species demonstrating that some thelytokous ant species are capable of producing males occasionally as well as maintaining their chromosome numbers and proper chromosome pairings. Mycocepurus smithii is a thelytokous fungus-growing ant species that inhabits large parts of Central and South America. Cytogenetic data are unavailable for M. smithii and male individuals were never documented for this species, although the presence of males is expected because genetic recombination was observed in a few sexually reproducing populations in Brazil and haploid sperm was documented from the spermathecae of M. smithii queens. This study aims at comparatively studying asexual and sexual populations of M. smithii using classical and molecular cytogenetic methods to test whether karyotype configuration is modified according to the mode of reproduction in M. smithii . Moreover, we report the discovery of M. smithii males from a sexually reproducing populationmore »in the Brazilian state Pará, diagnose the male of M. smithii , and morphologically characterize their spermatozoa. Karyotypic variation was observed within the asexual population (2n = 9, 10, or 11), whereas the chromosome number was fixed in the sexual population (2n = 14, n = 7). Identical karyotypes were maintained within individual M. smithii colonies and karyotype variation was only observed between colonies. In asexual individuals, the karyomorphs showed a decay of homologous chromosome pairs, especially in individuals with the karyomorph 2n = 11, which is potentially caused by relaxed natural selection on proper chromosome pairing. In contrast, females in the sexual population showed proper homologous chromosome pairings. In individuals of both asexual and sexual populations, we find that heterochromatin was localized in centromeric regions and on the short arms of the chromosomes, GC-rich regions were associated with heterochromatic regions, and 18S rDNA genes were located on the largest chromosome pair. This comparative cytogenetic analysis contributes to our understanding about the cytological mechanisms associated with thelytokous parthenogenesis in ants and suggests the decay of chromosome structure in the absence of meiosis and genetic recombination.« less
  5. Abstract Background

    The increasing number of chromosome-level genome assemblies has advanced our knowledge and understanding of macroevolutionary processes. Here, we introduce the genome of the desert horned lizard, Phrynosoma platyrhinos, an iguanid lizard occupying extreme desert conditions of the American southwest. We conduct analysis of the chromosomal structure and composition of this species and compare these features across genomes of 12 other reptiles (5 species of lizards, 3 snakes, 3 turtles, and 1 bird).


    The desert horned lizard genome was sequenced using Illumina paired-end reads and assembled and scaffolded using Dovetail Genomics Hi-C and Chicago long-range contact data. The resulting genome assembly has a total length of 1,901.85 Mb, scaffold N50 length of 273.213 Mb, and includes 5,294 scaffolds. The chromosome-level assembly is composed of 6 macrochromosomes and 11 microchromosomes. A total of 20,764 genes were annotated in the assembly. GC content and gene density are higher for microchromosomes than macrochromosomes, while repeat element distributions show the opposite trend. Pathway analyses provide preliminary evidence that microchromosome and macrochromosome gene content are functionally distinct. Synteny analysis indicates that large microchromosome blocks are conserved among closely related species, whereas macrochromosomes show evidence of frequent fusion and fission events among reptiles, even between closelymore »related species.


    Our results demonstrate dynamic karyotypic evolution across Reptilia, with frequent inferred splits, fusions, and rearrangements that have resulted in shuffling of chromosomal blocks between macrochromosomes and microchromosomes. Our analyses also provide new evidence for distinct gene content and chromosomal structure between microchromosomes and macrochromosomes within reptiles.

    « less