The barnacles are a group of >2,000 species that have fascinated biologists, including Darwin, for centuries. Their lifestyles are extremely diverse, from free-swimming larvae to sessile adults, and even root-like endoparasites. Barnacles also cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses annually due to biofouling. However, genomic resources for crustaceans, and barnacles in particular, are lacking.
Using 62× Pacific Biosciences coverage, 189× Illumina whole-genome sequencing coverage, 203× HiC coverage, and 69× CHi-C coverage, we produced a chromosome-level genome assembly of the gooseneck barnacle Pollicipes pollicipes. The P. pollicipes genome is 770 Mb long and its assembly is one of the most contiguous and complete crustacean genomes available, with a scaffold N50 of 47 Mb and 90.5% of the BUSCO Arthropoda gene set. Using the genome annotation produced here along with transcriptomes of 13 other barnacle species, we completed phylogenomic analyses on a nearly 2 million amino acid alignment. Contrary to previous studies, our phylogenies suggest that the Pollicipedomorpha is monophyletic and sister to the Balanomorpha, which alters our understanding of barnacle larval evolution and suggests homoplasy in a number of naupliar characters. We also compared transcriptomes of P. pollicipes nauplius larvae and adults and found that nearly one-half of the genes in the genome are differentially expressed, highlighting the vastly different transcriptomes of larvae and adult gooseneck barnacles. Annotation of the genes with KEGG and GO terms reveals that these stages exhibit many differences including cuticle binding, chitin binding, microtubule motor activity, and membrane adhesion.
This study provides high-quality genomic resources for a key group of crustaceans. This is especially valuable given the roles P. pollicipes plays in European fisheries, as a sentinel species for coastal ecosystems, and as a model for studying barnacle adhesion as well as its key position in the barnacle tree of life. A combination of genomic, phylogenetic, and transcriptomic analyses here provides valuable insights into the evolution and development of barnacles.
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- Oxford University Press
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- National Science Foundation
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