The genome of Schmidtea mediterranea and the evolution of core cellular mechanisms

Nature. 2018 Feb 1;554(7690):56-61. doi: 10.1038/nature25473. Epub 2018 Jan 24.


The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is an important model for stem cell research and regeneration, but adequate genome resources for this species have been lacking. Here we report a highly contiguous genome assembly of S. mediterranea, using long-read sequencing and a de novo assembler (MARVEL) enhanced for low-complexity reads. The S. mediterranea genome is highly polymorphic and repetitive, and harbours a novel class of giant retroelements. Furthermore, the genome assembly lacks a number of highly conserved genes, including critical components of the mitotic spindle assembly checkpoint, but planarians maintain checkpoint function. Our genome assembly provides a key model system resource that will be useful for studying regeneration and the evolutionary plasticity of core cell biological mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / deficiency
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Genomics
  • M Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / genetics
  • M Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints / physiology
  • Mad2 Proteins / deficiency
  • Planarians / cytology*
  • Planarians / genetics*
  • Planarians / physiology
  • Regeneration / genetics
  • Reproduction, Asexual / genetics
  • Retroelements / genetics


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Mad2 Proteins
  • Retroelements