A Chromosome-level assembly of the Japanese eel genome, insights into gene duplication and chromosomal reorganization

Hongbo Wang, Hin Ting Wan, Bin Wu, Jianbo Jian, Alice H M Ng, Claire Yik-Lok Chung, Eugene Yui-Ching Chow, Jizhou Zhang, Anderson O L Wong, Keng Po Lai, Ting Fung Chan, Eric Lu Zhang*, Chris Kong-Chu Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Japanese eels (Anguilla japonica) are commercially important species, harvested extensively for food. Currently, this and related species (American and European eels) are challenging to breed on a commercial basis. As a result, the wild stock is used for aquaculture. Moreover, climate change, habitat loss, water pollution, and altered ocean currents affect eel populations negatively. Accordingly, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Japanese eels as endangered and on its red list. Here we presented a high-quality genome assembly for Japanese eels and demonstrated that large chromosome reorganizations occurred in the events of third-round whole-genome duplications (3R-WRDs). Several chromosomal fusions and fissions have reduced the ancestral protochromosomal number of 25 to 19 in the Anguilla lineage. A phylogenetic analysis of the expanded gene families showed that the olfactory receptors (group δ and ζ genes) and voltage-gated Ca2+ channels expanded significantly. Both gene families are crucial for olfaction and neurophysiology. Additional tandem and proximal duplications occurred following 3R-WGD to acquire immune-related genes for an adaptive advantage against various pathogens. The Japanese eel assembly presented here can be used to study other Anguilla species relating to evolution and conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiac120
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chromosomes/genetics
  • Gene Duplication
  • Phylogeny
  • Gene Expansion
  • Ca channels
  • olfactory receptors
  • Anguilla japonica
  • Phylogenomics


Dive into the research topics of 'A Chromosome-level assembly of the Japanese eel genome, insights into gene duplication and chromosomal reorganization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this