The draft genome of blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala) reveals the development of intermuscular bone and adaptation to herbivorous diet

Gigascience. 2017 Jul 1;6(7):1-13. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/gix039.


The blunt snout bream Megalobrama amblycephala is the economically most important cyprinid fish species. As an herbivore, it can be grown by eco-friendly and resource-conserving aquaculture. However, the large number of intermuscular bones in the trunk musculature is adverse to fish meat processing and consumption. As a first towards optimizing this aquatic livestock, we present a 1.116-Gb draft genome of M. amblycephala, with 779.54 Mb anchored on 24 linkage groups. Integrating spatiotemporal transcriptome analyses, we show that intermuscular bone is formed in the more basal teleosts by intramembranous ossification and may be involved in muscle contractibility and coordinating cellular events. Comparative analysis revealed that olfactory receptor genes, especially of the beta type, underwent an extensive expansion in herbivorous cyprinids, whereas the gene for the umami receptor T1R1 was specifically lost in M. amblycephala. The composition of gut microflora, which contributes to the herbivorous adaptation of M. amblycephala, was found to be similar to that of other herbivores. As a valuable resource for the improvement of M. amblycephala livestock, the draft genome sequence offers new insights into the development of intermuscular bone and herbivorous adaptation.

Keywords: Megalobrama amblycephala; gut microflora; herbivorous diet; intermuscular bone; transcriptome; whole genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Cyprinidae / genetics*
  • Cyprinidae / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fish Proteins / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Genome*
  • Herbivory / genetics*
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Transcriptome


  • Fish Proteins
  • Receptors, Odorant