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.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)