The Scaly-foot Snail genome and implications for the origins of biomineralised armour

Jin Sun, Chong Chen, Norio Miyamoto, Runsheng LI, Julia D. Sigwart, Ting Xu, Yanan Sun, Wai Chuen Wong, Jack C.H. Ip, Weipeng Zhang, Yi Lan, Dass Bissessur, Tomo o. Watsuji, Hiromi Kayama Watanabe, Yoshihiro Takaki, Kazuho Ikeo, Nobuyuki Fujii, Kazutoshi Yoshitake, Jianwen QIU, Ken Takai*Pei Yuan Qian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The Scaly-foot Snail, Chrysomallon squamiferum, presents a combination of biomineralised features, reminiscent of enigmatic early fossil taxa with complex shells and sclerites such as sachtids, but in a recently-diverged living species which even has iron-infused hard parts. Thus the Scaly-foot Snail is an ideal model to study the genomic mechanisms underlying the evolutionary diversification of biomineralised armour. Here, we present a high-quality whole-genome assembly and tissue-specific transcriptomic data, and show that scale and shell formation in the Scaly-foot Snail employ independent subsets of 25 highly-expressed transcription factors. Comparisons with other lophotrochozoan genomes imply that this biomineralisation toolkit is ancient, though expression patterns differ across major lineages. We suggest that the ability of lophotrochozoan lineages to generate a wide range of hard parts, exemplified by the remarkable morphological disparity in Mollusca, draws on a capacity for dynamic modification of the expression and positioning of toolkit elements across the genome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1657
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Scaly-foot Snail genome and implications for the origins of biomineralised armour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this