April 21, 2020  |  

The Draft Genome of an Octocoral, Dendronephthya gigantea.

Coral reefs composed of stony corals are threatened by global marine environmental changes. However, soft coral communities of octocorallian species, appear more resilient. The genomes of several cnidarians species have been published, including from stony corals, sea anemones, and hydra. To fill the phylogenetic gap for octocoral species of cnidarians, we sequenced the octocoral, Dendronephthya gigantea, a nonsymbiotic soft coral, commonly known as the carnation coral. The D. gigantea genome size is ~276?Mb. A high-quality genome assembly was constructed from PacBio long reads (29.85 Gb with 108× coverage) and Illumina short paired-end reads (35.54 Gb with 128× coverage) resulting in the highest N50 value (1.4?Mb) reported thus far among cnidarian genomes. About 12% of the genome is repetitive elements and contained 28,879 predicted protein-coding genes. This gene set is composed of 94% complete BUSCO ortholog benchmark genes, which is the second highest value among the cnidarians, indicating high quality. Based on molecular phylogenetic analysis, octocoral and hexacoral divergence times were estimated at 544 MYA. There is a clear difference in Hox gene composition between these species: unlike hexacorals, the Antp superclass Evx gene was absent in D. gigantea. Here, we present the first genome assembly of a nonsymbiotic octocoral, D. gigantea to aid in the comparative genomic analysis of cnidarians, including stony and soft corals, both symbiotic and nonsymbiotic. The D. gigantea genome may also provide clues to mechanisms of differential coping between the soft and stony corals in response to scenarios of global warming. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

Inter-chromosomal coupling between vision and pigmentation genes during genomic divergence.

Recombination between loci underlying mate choice and ecological traits is a major evolutionary force acting against speciation with gene flow. The evolution of linkage disequilibrium between such loci is therefore a fundamental step in the origin of species. Here, we show that this process can take place in the absence of physical linkage in hamlets-a group of closely related reef fishes from the wider Caribbean that differ essentially in colour pattern and are reproductively isolated through strong visually-based assortative mating. Using full-genome analysis, we identify four narrow genomic intervals that are consistently differentiated among sympatric species in a backdrop of extremely low genomic divergence. These four intervals include genes involved in pigmentation (sox10), axial patterning (hoxc13a), photoreceptor development (casz1) and visual sensitivity (SWS and LWS opsins) that develop islands of long-distance and inter-chromosomal linkage disequilibrium as species diverge. The relatively simple genomic architecture of species differences facilitates the evolution of linkage disequilibrium in the presence of gene flow.


April 21, 2020  |  

Symbiotic organs shaped by distinct modes of genome evolution in cephalopods.

Microbes have been critical drivers of evolutionary innovation in animals. To understand the processes that influence the origin of specialized symbiotic organs, we report the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Euprymna scolopes, a model cephalopod with richly characterized host-microbe interactions. We identified large-scale genomic reorganization shared between E. scolopes and Octopus bimaculoides and posit that this reorganization has contributed to the evolution of cephalopod complexity. To reveal genomic signatures of host-symbiont interactions, we focused on two specialized organs of E. scolopes: the light organ, which harbors a monoculture of Vibrio fischeri, and the accessory nidamental gland (ANG), a reproductive organ containing a bacterial consortium. Our findings suggest that the two symbiotic organs within E. scolopes originated by different evolutionary mechanisms. Transcripts expressed in these microbe-associated tissues displayed their own unique signatures in both coding sequences and the surrounding regulatory regions. Compared with other tissues, the light organ showed an abundance of genes associated with immunity and mediating light, whereas the ANG was enriched in orphan genes known only from E. scolopes Together, these analyses provide evidence for different patterns of genomic evolution of symbiotic organs within a single host. Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


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