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The Easter Egg Weevil (Pachyrhynchus) genome reveals synteny in Coleoptera across 200 million years of evolution

By Matthew H. Van Dam, Analyn Anzano Cabras, James B Henderson, Cynthia PĂ©rez Estrada, Arina D. Omer, Olga Dudchenko, Erez Lieberman Aiden, Athena W. Lam

Posted 21 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.18.422986

Patterns of genomic architecture across insects remain largely undocumented or decoupled from a broader phylogenetic context. For instance, it is unknown whether translocation rates differ between insect orders? We address broad scale patterns of genome architecture across Insecta by examining synteny in a phylogenetic framework from open source insect genomes. To accomplish this, we add a chromosome level genome to a crucial lineage, Coleoptera. Our assembly of the Pachyrhynchus sulphureomaculatus genome is the first chromosome scale genome for the hyperdiverse Phytophaga lineage and currently the largest insect genome assembled to this scale. The genome is significantly larger than those of other weevils, and this increase in size is caused by repetitive elements. Our results also indicate that, among beetles, there are instances of long-lasting (>200 Ma) localization of genes to a particular chromosome with few translocation events. While some chromosomes have a paucity of translocations, intra-chromosomal synteny was almost absent, with gene order thoroughly shuffled along a chromosome. To place our findings in an evolutionary context, we compared syntenic patterns across Insecta. We find that synteny largely scales with clade age, with younger clades, such as Lepidoptera, having especially high synteny. However, we do find subtle differences in the maintenance of synteny and its rate of decay among the insect orders.

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