Scallop genome provides insights into evolution of bilaterian karyotype and development

Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 Apr 3;1(5):120. doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0120.


Reconstructing the genomes of bilaterian ancestors is central to our understanding of animal evolution, where knowledge from ancient and/or slow-evolving bilaterian lineages is critical. Here we report a high-quality, chromosome-anchored reference genome for the scallop Patinopecten yessoensis, a bivalve mollusc that has a slow-evolving genome with many ancestral features. Chromosome-based macrosynteny analysis reveals a striking correspondence between the 19 scallop chromosomes and the 17 presumed ancestral bilaterian linkage groups at a level of conservation previously unseen, suggesting that the scallop may have a karyotype close to that of the bilaterian ancestor. Scallop Hox gene expression follows a new mode of subcluster temporal co-linearity that is possibly ancestral and may provide great potential in supporting diverse bilaterian body plans. Transcriptome analysis of scallop mantle eyes finds unexpected diversity in phototransduction cascades and a potentially ancient Pax2/5/8-dependent pathway for noncephalic eyes. The outstanding preservation of ancestral karyotype and developmental control makes the scallop genome a valuable resource for understanding early bilaterian evolution and biology.