Complete, high-quality genomes from long-read metagenomic sequencing of two wolf lichen thalli reveals enigmatic genome architecture

Genomics. 2020 Sep;112(5):3150-3156. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2020.06.006. Epub 2020 Jun 3.


Fungal genomes display incredible levels of complexity and diversity, and are exceptional study systems for genome evolution. Here we used the Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencing platform to generate high-quality fungal genomes from complex metagenomic samples of lichen thalli. We sequenced two wolf lichens using one flow cell per sample, generating 17.1 Gbps for Letharia lupina and 14.3 Gbps for Letharia columbiana. The resulting L. lupina genome is one of the most contiguous lichen genomes available to date, with 49.2 Mbp contained on 31 contigs. The L. columbiana genome, while less contiguous, is still relatively high quality, with 52.3 Mbp on a total of 161 contigs. Each thallus for both species contained multiple distinct haplotypes, a phenomenon that has rarely been empirically demonstrated. The Oxford Nanopore sequencing technologies are robust and effective when applied to complex symbioses, and have the potential to fundamentally transform our understanding of fungal genetics.

Keywords: Comparative genomics; Lichenized fungi; Long-read sequencing; Metagenomics; Symbiosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Lichens / genetics*
  • Metagenomics
  • Nanopore Sequencing
  • Parmeliaceae / genetics*