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Biodiversity genomics of small metazoans: high quality de novo genomes from single specimens of field-collected and ethanol-preserved springtails

By Clément Schneider, Christian Woehle, Carola Greve, Cyrille A. D’Haese, Magnus Wolf, Axel Janke, Miklós Bálint, Bruno Hüttel

Posted 11 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.10.244541

Genome sequencing of all known eukaryotes on Earth promises unprecedented advances in evolutionary sciences, ecology, systematics and in biodiversity-related applied fields such as environmental management and natural product research. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies make genome sequencing feasible for many non-genetic model species. However, genome sequencing today relies on large quantities of high quality, high molecular weight (HMW) DNA which is mostly obtained from fresh tissues. This is problematic for biodiversity genomics of Metazoa as most species are small and yield minute amounts of DNA. Furthermore, briging living specimens to the lab bench not realistic for the majority of species. Here we overcome those difficulties by sequencing two species of springtails (Collembola) from single specimens preserved in ethanol. We used a newly developed, genome-wide amplification-based protocol to generate PacBio libraries for HiFi long-read sequencing. The assembled genomes were highly continuous. They can be considered complete as we recovered over 95% of BUSCOs. Genome-wide amplification does not seem to bias genome recovery. Presence of almost complete copies of the mitochondrial genome in the nuclear genome were pitfalls for automatic assemblers. The genomes fit well into an existing phylogeny of springtails. A neotype is designated for one of the species, blending genome sequencing and creation of taxonomic references. Our study shows that it is possible to obtain high quality genomes from small, field-preserved sub-millimeter metazoans, thus making their vast diversity accessible to the fields of genomics. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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