PromethION sequencing and assembly of the genome of Micropoecilia picta, a fish with a highly Degenerated Y chromosome

Deborah Charlesworth, Chay Graham, Urmi Trivedi, Jim Gardner, Roberta Bergero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We here describe sequencing and assembly of both the autosomes and the sex chromosome in M. picta, the closest related species to the guppy, Poecilia reticulata. Poecilia ()Micropoecilia) picta is a close outgroup for studying the guppy, an important organism for studies in evolutionary ecology and in sex chromosome evolution. The guppy XY pair (LG12) has long been studied as a test case for the importance of sexually antagonistic variants in selection for suppressed recombination between Y and X chromosomes. The guppy Y chromosome is not degenerated, but appears to carry functional copies of all genes that are present on its X counterpart. The X chromosomes of M. picta (and its relative M. parae) are homologous to the guppy XY pair, but their Y chromosomes are highly degenerated, and no genes can be identified in the fully Y-linked region. A complete genome sequence of a M. picta male may therefore contribute to understanding how the guppy Y evolved. These fish species’ genomes are estimated to be about 750 Mb, with high densities of repetitive sequences, suggesting that long-read sequencing is needed. We evaluated several assembly approaches, and used our results to investigate the extent of Y chromosome degeneration in this species.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberevab171
Number of pages11
JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
Issue number9
Early online date23 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2021


  • genome sequence
  • genetic degeneration
  • sex chromosome


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