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Reconstruction of hundreds of reference ancestral genomes across the eukaryotic kingdom

Matthieu Muffato, Alexandra Louis, Nga Thi Thuy Nguyen, Joseph Lucas, Camille Berthelot, Hugues Roest Crollius


Ancestral sequence reconstruction is a fundamental aspect of molecular evolution studies and can trace small-scale sequence modifications through the evolution of genomes and species. In contrast, fine-grained reconstructions of ancestral genome organizations are still in their infancy, limiting our ability to draw comprehensive views of genome and karyotype evolution. Here we reconstruct the detailed gene contents and organizations of 624 ancestral vertebrate, plant, fungi, metazoan and protist genomes, 183 of which are near-complete chromosomal gene order reconstructions. Reconstructed ancestral genomes are similar to their descendants in terms of gene content as expected and agree precisely with reference cytogenetic and in silico reconstructions when available. By comparing successive ancestral genomes along the phylogenetic tree, we estimate the intra- and interchromosomal rearrangement history of all major vertebrate clades at high resolution. This freely available resource introduces the possibility to follow evolutionary processes at genomic scales in chronological order, across multiple clades and without relying on a single extant species as reference.

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Nat Ecol Evol. 2023 Jan 16. doi : 10.1038/s41559-022-01956-z