Scientists Decode The Genome Of The Pacific White Shrimp

The Pacific white shrimp’s genome spans approximately 1.66 Gb and contains 25,596 protein-coding genes.

AsianScientist (Mar. 7, 2019) – An international team of scientists has sequenced and assembled the genome of the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. Their work is published in Nature Communications.

The Pacific white shrimp L. vannamei accounts for more than two-thirds of shrimp aquaculture production. However, these crustaceans are vulnerable to environment deterioration, disease and germplasm degradation.

To better manage pathogen infection and improve the genetic stock of the Pacific white shrimp, scientists led by Professors Xiang Jianhai and Li Fuhua at the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, have sequenced the highly complex genome of L. vannamei.

The researchers, together with international colleagues, integrated transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics data gathered over the past decade to assemble a reference genome of the important shrimp species. They report that the L. vannamei genome covers ~1.66 Gb and contains 25,596 protein-coding genes.

The high-quality genome assembly of L. vannamei provides scientists with the opportunity to understand various biological processes of shrimp at the genome level. The most prominent characteristic of the coding region of the shrimp genome is the expansion of a series of genes related to the visual system, nerve signal conduction and molting.

These gene expansions might have provided the shrimp with its excellent eyesight and rapid nerve signal conduction, better adapting it to its habitat. The shrimp genome assembly also sheds light on the molting process and provides important evidence for exploring the similarities and differences between crustaceans and other ecdysozoans, including insects.

Furthermore, genomic analysis of the breeding population and wild population of shrimp reveals that farming practices of only 30 years have already exerted a significant impact on the genome of the L. vannamei broodstocks.

The assembled shrimp genome and the large amount of genetic markers will provide a useful resource for the application of genome-wide association studies and genomic selection, thereby accelerating genetic improvements in shrimp culture, said the researchers.

The article can be found at: Zhang et al. (2019) Penaeid Shrimp Genome Provides Insights Into Benthic Adaptation and Frequent Molting.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: USDA ARS/Wikimedia Commons/CC0.
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