This Thanksgiving we are happy to report that we've reached another milestone of 175 chromosome-length genome assemblies on our website. Featured on the assembly page are fastas and Hi-C contact maps for 156 vertebrates (including 138 mammals), 10 plants, 6 insects, 2 mollusks and 1 flatworm.

We take this opportunity to catch up with our SRA data submissions. Find all the bases under the DNA Zoo BioProject accession PRJNA512907. The project now holds 203 biosamples, 291 Hi-C experiments across 163 species, 58 DNA-Seq experiments across 58 species, and totals 24,149,683,906,787 bases!


We are very grateful to Illumina, Macrogen, Novogene, the Broad Institute, Baylor College of Medicine GARP core and Baylor Genetics for their help with the data production!


As before, we share the data without restrictions: see our data usage policy here.


Don't miss on new assemblies, subscribe to the website below or follow us on twitter!


  • Ruqayya Khan

Updated: 2 days ago

The black-footed cat aka Felis nigripes is tiny, adorable, and deadly. Weighing between 2-5 lbs, they are the smallest wildcat species in Africa and is 200 times smaller than the average lion. Don't be fooled by their fluffy appearance though: the black-footed cat has one of the highest kill-success rates among their peers! Compared to the 200x larger lions which bring down their prey 20-25% of the time, the black-footed cat boats a 60% success rate [1]! They consume around 3000 rodents a year, and can catch as many as 10-15 prey in one night. Their excellent hearing and night vision allow them to easily stalk small birds and rodents hiding in tall grasses [2].


Native to southern African nations, the black-footed cat can be found in the tall grasslands of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa [3]. The black-footed cat is listed as vulnerable by IUCN Red list with its population in decline in the wild. Due to grasslands being used as grazing spaces for livestock, the black-footed cat has been losing their native habitat and hunting grounds [4]. There have been some successful breeding programs in captivity, including in vitro fertilization using a domestic cat as the surrogate.

Photo by Patrick Ch. Apfeld, derivative editing by Poke2001, [CC BY 3.0], via wikimedia.org

Today, we release the genome assembly of the black-footed cat. This is another $1K genome assembly with a contig n50 = 51 Kb and a scaffold n50 = 140 Mb. Check out our Methods page for assembly procedure details. The genome was generated using a sample from the T.C. Hsu Cryo-Zoo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, originally stored back in 1974! We thank Drs. Asha Multani, Sen Pathak, Richard Behringer, Liesl Nel-Themaat and Arisa Furuta in the Department of Genetics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for their help with this sample.


We're no strangers to wild cats here at the DNA Zoo as this is the 8th Felidae species we've released! Check out for example these blog posts on the jaguar and the snow leopard. Stay tuned for more, and subscribe to our mailing list below to keep up to date on the releases!

  • Ruqayya Khan

The giant white-tailed rat, Uromys caudimaculatus, aka the giant rat, the white-tailed rat, and the giant naked-tailed rat is a rodent species endemic to Australia. (They are found mostly in the rain forests of Queensland.) They are one of the largest rodents in Australia, weighing up to 1 kilogram. They are covered in a gray-brown fur with a white underbelly and white paws. White-tailed rats are part of the Uromyini group known as known as the mosaic tiled rats. This is because the scales on their hairless tails are arranged in an interlocking pattern, with very little overlap, rather like tiles in a mosaic. [1] Like other rodent species, the front incisors of the white-tailed rat are ever growing. Their teeth size is maintained by frequent chewing on nuts, branches, and other materials [2]. Much to their chagrin, a group of researchers from James Cook University working at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory in northern Queensland found that the white-tailed rats enjoyed the taste of the building's internet cables. Here's a quote from Professor Ian Atkinson in an interview to Diginomica: "The giant white tailed rat is a particular nuisance in Far North Queensland with its love of chewing through plastic, rubber and electrical wires. It also turns out ethernet and fibre optic cables are a tasty treat as well which it will happily climb up trees to nibble on as well." [3]

White-tailed Giant Rat by Steve Dew (aussiecreature), [CC-BY-NC], via inaturalist.org

Today, we release the genome assembly of the giant white-tailed rat. This is a $1K genome assembly that has a contig n50 = 50 KB and a scaffold n50 = 99 MB (see Dudchenko et al., 2018 for procedure details). The genome was generated using a sample from the T.C. Hsu Cryo-Zoo at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center stored all the way back in 1977! We thank Drs. Asha Multani, Sen Pathak, Richard Behringer, Liesl Nel-Themaat and Arisa Furuta in the Department of Genetics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for their help with this sample.


This is the 16th species from the order Rodentia and the third Australian rodent we've released here on the DNAZoo Blog! Learn more about the rodents from down-under by checking out these blog posts by Dr. Parwinder Kaur on the broad-toothed rat and the brown desert mouse.

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