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Long-read sequencing improves assembly of Trichinella genomes 10-fold, revealing substantial synteny between lineages diverged over 7 million years


Genome assemblies can form the basis of comparative analyses fostering insight into the evolutionary genetics of a parasite's pathogenicity, host–pathogen interactions, environmental constraints and invasion biology; however, the length and complexity of many parasite genomes has hampered the development of well-resolved assemblies. In order to improve Trichinella genome assemblies, the genome of the sylvatic encapsulated species Trichinella murrelli was sequenced using third-generation, long-read technology and, using syntenic comparisons, scaffolded to a reference genome assembly of Trichinella spiralis, markedly improving both. A high-quality draft assembly for T. murrelli was achieved that totalled 63·2 Mbp, half of which was condensed into 26 contigs each longer than 571 000 bp. When compared with previous assemblies for parasites in the genus, ours required 10-fold fewer contigs, which were five times longer, on average. Better assembly across repetitive regions also enabled resolution of 8 Mbp of previously indeterminate sequence. Furthermore, syntenic comparisons identified widespread scaffold misassemblies in the T. spiralis reference genome. The two new assemblies, organized for the first time into three chromosomal scaffolds, will be valuable resources for future studies linking phenotypic traits within each species to their underlying genetic bases.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, BARC-East Bldg. 1180 Rm. 104, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. E-mail:
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