Chromosome-Level Assembly of the Caenorhabditis remanei Genome Reveals Conserved Patterns of Nematode Genome Organization

Genetics. 2020 Apr;214(4):769-780. doi: 10.1534/genetics.119.303018. Epub 2020 Feb 28.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is one of the key model systems in biology, including possessing the first fully assembled animal genome. Whereas C. elegans is a self-reproducing hermaphrodite with fairly limited within-population variation, its relative C. remanei is an outcrossing species with much more extensive genetic variation, making it an ideal parallel model system for evolutionary genetic investigations. Here, we greatly improve on previous assemblies by generating a chromosome-level assembly of the entire C. remanei genome (124.8 Mb of total size) using long-read sequencing and chromatin conformation capture data. Like other fully assembled genomes in the genus, we find that the C. remanei genome displays a high degree of synteny with C. elegans despite multiple within-chromosome rearrangements. Both genomes have high gene density in central regions of chromosomes relative to chromosome ends and the opposite pattern for the accumulation of repetitive elements. C. elegans and C. remanei also show similar patterns of interchromosome interactions, with the central regions of chromosomes appearing to interact with one another more than the distal ends. The new C. remanei genome presented here greatly augments the use of the Caenorhabditis as a platform for comparative genomics and serves as a basis for molecular population genetics within this highly diverse species.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; Caenorhabditis remanei; chromosome-level assembly; comparative genomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis / classification
  • Caenorhabditis / genetics*
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • Contig Mapping
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Helminth*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • Chromatin