African lungfish genome sheds light on the vertebrate water-to-land transition

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Kun Wang
  • Jun Wang
  • Chenglong Zhu
  • Liandong Yang
  • Yandong Ren
  • Jue Ruan
  • Guangyi Fan
  • Jiang Hu
  • Wenjie Xu
  • Xupeng Bi
  • Youan Zhu
  • Yue Song
  • Huatao Chen
  • Tiantian Ma
  • Ruoping Zhao
  • Haifeng Jiang
  • Bin Zhang
  • Chenguang Feng
  • Yuan Yuan
  • Xiaoni Gan
  • Yongxin Li
  • Honghui Zeng
  • Qun Liu
  • Yaolei Zhang
  • Feng Shao
  • Shijie Hao
  • He Zhang
  • Xun Xu
  • Xin Liu
  • Depeng Wang
  • Min Zhu
  • Wenming Zhao
  • Qiang Qiu
  • Shunping He
  • Wen Wang

Lungfishes are the closest extant relatives of tetrapods and preserve ancestral traits linked with the water-to-land transition. However, their huge genome sizes have hindered understanding of this key transition in evolution. Here, we report a 40-Gb chromosome-level assembly of the African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) genome, which is the largest genome assembly ever reported and has a contig and chromosome N50 of 1.60 Mb and 2.81 Gb, respectively. The large size of the lungfish genome is due mainly to retrotransposons. Genes with ultra-long length show similar expression levels to other genes, indicating that lungfishes have evolved high transcription efficacy to keep gene expression balanced. Together with transcriptome and experimental data, we identified potential genes and regulatory elements related to such terrestrial adaptation traits as pulmonary surfactant, anxiolytic ability, pentadactyl limbs, and pharyngeal remodeling. Our results provide insights and key resources for understanding the evolutionary pathway leading from fishes to humans.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1362-1376.e18
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • aestivation, ancestral karyotype, anxiolytic ability, huge genome size, lungfishes, pentadactyl limbs, pharyngeal remodeling, pulmonary surfactant, water-to-land transition

ID: 257545099