Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida) serve an important role as aquatic ecosystem engineers but are one of the most critically imperilled groups of animals. Here, we used a combination of sequencing strategies to assemble and annotate a draft genome of Venustaconcha ellipsiformis, which will serve as a valuable genomic resource given the ecological value and unique "doubly uniparental inheritance" mode of mitochondrial DNA transmission of freshwater mussels. The genome described here was obtained by combining high-coverage short reads (65× genome coverage of Illumina paired-end and 11× genome coverage of mate-pairs sequences) with low-coverage Pacific Biosciences long reads (0.3× genome coverage). Briefly, the final scaffold assembly accounted for a total size of 1.54?Gb (366,926 scaffolds, N50?=?6.5 kb, with 2.3% of "N" nucleotides), representing 86% of the predicted genome size of 1.80?Gb, while over one third of the genome (37.5%) consisted of repeated elements and >85% of the core eukaryotic genes were recovered. Given the repeated genetic bottlenecks of V. ellipsiformis populations as a result of glaciations events, heterozygosity was also found to be remarkably low (0.6%), in contrast to most other sequenced bivalve species. Finally, we reassembled the full mitochondrial genome and found six polymorphic sites with respect to the previously published reference. This resource opens the way to comparative genomics studies to identify genes related to the unique adaptations of freshwater mussels and their distinctive mitochondrial inheritance mechanism.
Journal: Genome biology and evolution