Genome of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica reveals innovation in non-coding sequences

Broad Institute Genome Sequencing Platform, Tarjei S Mikkelsen, Matthew J Wakefield, Bronwen Aken, Chris T Amemiya, Jean L Chang, Shannon Duke, Manuel Garber, Andrew J Gentles, Leo Goodstadt, Andreas Heger, Jerzy Jurka, Michael Kamal, Evan Mauceli, Stephen M J Searle, Ted Sharpe, Michelle L Baker, Mark A Batzer, Panayiotis V Benos, Katherine BelovMichele Clamp, April Cook, James Cuff, Radhika Das, Lance Davidow, Janine E Deakin, Melissa J Fazzari, Jacob L Glass, Manfred Grabherr, John M Greally, Wanjun Gu, Timothy A Hore, Gavin A Huttley, Michael Kleber, Randy L Jirtle, Edda Koina, Jeannie T Lee, Shaun Mahony, Marco A Marra, Robert D Miller, Robert D Nicholls, Mayumi Oda, Anthony T Papenfuss, Zuly E Parra, David D Pollock, David A Ray, Jacqueline E Schein, Terence P Speed, Katherine Thompson, John L VandeBerg, Chris P Ponting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We report a high-quality draft of the genome sequence of the grey, short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica). As the first metatherian ('marsupial') species to be sequenced, the opossum provides a unique perspective on the organization and evolution of mammalian genomes. Distinctive features of the opossum chromosomes provide support for recent theories about genome evolution and function, including a strong influence of biased gene conversion on nucleotide sequence composition, and a relationship between chromosomal characteristics and X chromosome inactivation. Comparison of opossum and eutherian genomes also reveals a sharp difference in evolutionary innovation between protein-coding and non-coding functional elements. True innovation in protein-coding genes seems to be relatively rare, with lineage-specific differences being largely due to diversification and rapid turnover in gene families involved in environmental interactions. In contrast, about 20% of eutherian conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) are recent inventions that postdate the divergence of Eutheria and Metatheria. A substantial proportion of these eutherian-specific CNEs arose from sequence inserted by transposable elements, pointing to transposons as a major creative force in the evolution of mammalian gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-77
Number of pages11
Issue number7141
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Opossums
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Synteny
  • X Chromosome Inactivation


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