Platypus and echidna genomes reveal mammalian biology and evolution

Yang Zhou, Linda Shearwin-Whyatt, Jing Li, Zhenzhen Song, Takashi Hayakawa, David Stevens, Jane C. Fenelon, Emma Peel, Yuanyuan Cheng, Filip Pajpach, Natasha Bradley, Hikoyu Suzuki, Masato Nikaido, Joana Damas, Tasman Daish, Tahlia Perry, Zexian Zhu, Yuncong Geng, Arang Rhie, Ying SimsJonathan Wood, Bettina Haase, Jacquelyn Mountcastle, Olivier Fedrigo, Qiye Li, Huanming Yang, Jian Wang, Stephen D. Johnston, Adam M. Phillippy, Kerstin Howe, Erich D. Jarvis, Oliver A. Ryder, Henrik Kaessmann, Peter Donnelly, Jonas Korlach, Harris A. Lewin, Jennifer Graves, Katherine Belov, Marilyn B. Renfree, Frank Grutzner, Qi Zhou, Guojie Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
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Egg-laying mammals (monotremes) are the only extant mammalian outgroup to therians (marsupial and eutherian animals) and provide key insights into mammalian evolution1,2. Here we generate and analyse reference genomes of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) and echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), which represent the only two extant monotreme lineages. The nearly complete platypus genome assembly has anchored almost the entire genome onto chromosomes, markedly improving the genome continuity and gene annotation. Together with our echidna sequence, the genomes of the two species allow us to detect the ancestral and lineage-specific genomic changes that shape both monotreme and mammalian evolution. We provide evidence that the monotreme sex chromosome complex originated from an ancestral chromosome ring configuration. The formation of such a unique chromosome complex may have been facilitated by the unusually extensive interactions between the multi-X and multi-Y chromosomes that are shared by the autosomal homologues in humans. Further comparative genomic analyses unravel marked differences between monotremes and therians in haptoglobin genes, lactation genes and chemosensory receptor genes for smell and taste that underlie the ecological adaptation of monotremes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-762
Number of pages7
Issue number7856
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


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