Apr 14, 2020

Cat fleas in flux: Rampant gene duplication, genome size plasticity, and paradoxical Wolbachia infection

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Timothy DriscollA. F. Azad


Background: Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) are small flightless parasites of birds and mammals; their blood-feeding can transmit many serious pathogens (i.e. the etiological agents of bubonic plague, endemic and murine typhus). The lack of flea genome assemblies has hindered research, especially comparisons to other disease vectors. Accordingly, we sequenced the genome of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, an insect with substantial human health and veterinary importance across the globe. Results: By combining Illumina and PacBio sequencing with Hi-C scaffolding techniques, we generated a chromosome-level genome assembly for C. felis. Unexpectedly, our assembly revealed extensive gene duplication across the entire genome, exemplified by ~38% of protein-coding genes with two or more copies and over 4,000 tRNA genes. A broad range of genome size determinations (433-551 Mb) for individual fleas sampled across different populations supports the widespread presence of fluctuating copy number variation (CNV) in C. felis. Similarly broad genome sizes were also calculated for individuals of Xenopsylla cheopis (Oriental rat flea), indicating that this remarkable "genome-in-flux" phenomenon could be a siphonapteran-wide trait. Neverthel...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Computer Software
Hidden Markov Model
Hidden Markov Model Forward Algorithm
Disease Predictive Factor
3-((2-nitro-4-azidophenyl)-2-aminoethyldithio)-N-succinimidyl propionate

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