The draft genome of the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) provides insights into its evolution and vegetarian adaptation

Nat Genet. 2015 Jun;47(6):625-31. doi: 10.1038/ng.3280. Epub 2015 May 4.


The grass carp is an important farmed fish, accounting for ∼16% of global freshwater aquaculture, and has a vegetarian diet. Here we report a 0.9-Gb draft genome of a gynogenetic female adult and a 1.07-Gb genome of a wild male adult. Genome annotation identified 27,263 protein-coding gene models in the female genome. A total of 114 scaffolds consisting of 573 Mb are anchored on 24 linkage groups. Divergence between grass carp and zebrafish is estimated to have occurred 49-54 million years ago. We identify a chromosome fusion in grass carp relative to zebrafish and report frequent crossovers between the grass carp X and Y chromosomes. We find that transcriptional activation of the mevalonate pathway and steroid biosynthesis in liver is associated with the grass carp's adaptation from a carnivorous to an herbivorous diet. We believe that the grass carp genome could serve as an initial platform for breeding better-quality fish using a genomic approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / genetics
  • Animals
  • Carps / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Fish Proteins / genetics
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Genome
  • Herbivory / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Transcriptome


  • Fish Proteins