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Monodopsis and Vischeria genomes elucidate the biology of eustigmatophyte algae

By Hsiao-Pei Yang, Marius Wenzel, Duncan A Hauser, Jessica M Nelson, Xia Xu, Marek Elias, Fay-Wei Li

Posted 23 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.22.457280

Members of eustigmatophyte algae, especially Nannochloropsis, have been tapped for biofuel production owing to their exceptionally high lipid content. While extensive genomic, transcriptomic, and synthetic biology toolkits have been made available for Nannochloropsis, very little is known about other eustigmatophytes. Here we present three near-chromosomal and gapless genome assemblies of Monodopsis (60 Mb) and Vischeria (106 Mb), which are the sister groups to Nannochloropsis. These genomes contain unusually high percentages of simple repeats, ranging from 12% to 21% of the total assembly size. Unlike Nannochloropsis, LINE repeats are abundant in Monodopsis and Vischeria and might constitute the centromeric regions. We found that both mevalonate and non-mevalonate pathways for terpenoid biosynthesis are present in Monodopsis and Vischeria, which is different from Nannochloropsis that has only the latter. Our analysis further revealed extensive spliced leader trans-splicing in Monodopsis and Vischeria at 36-61% of genes. Altogether, the high-quality genomes of Monodopsis and Vischeria not only serve as the much-needed outgroups to advance Nannochloropsis research, but also shed new light on the biology and evolution of eustigmatophyte algae.

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