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A fetching assembly

The New Guinea Singing Dog (NGSD) is an ancient lineage of dogs that have been found in the New Guinea Highlands. Once considered a species in its own right (Canis hallistromi) it is now thought to be closely related to Australian dingoes and therefore likely cousins to modern dog breeds. These dogs are named for their distinct song or howl which is quite unique.

Melody, the New Guinea Singing Dog whose genome assembly is being released. Photo by Bill Ballard (University of Melbourne), edits by Arran Morton.

Today the University of Melbourne, Australia and Georgia Institute of Technology, USA in collaboration with DNA Zoo release a chromosome-length genome assembly of a NGSD female. HiFi sequencing was completed at the University of Delaware, and the reads were assembled using HiFiasm by Ben Rosen (USDA). Hi-C data was generated at Baylor College of Medicine by the DNA Zoo team.

We hope this assembly will enable us to answer a number of basic scientific questions including the relationships between Grey wolves, NGSDs, dingoes and modern breed dogs. We also expect careful analyses to shed light on the movement of dogs in the South east Pacific. An intriguing basic question we wish to consider is the evolution of the dog bark.

The sample for the long read chromosome length assembly was provided by a female named Melody from the North Georgia Wildlife Park (that's her on the photo above!). We wish to thank Kathleen Parisi, who drew the blood, Melissa Burns, who is the Animal Care Director at North Georgia Wildlife Park and was assisting, and Ashleigh Thomas who is her keeper.

Check out the interactive chromosome-length contact map of Melody's blood cells below!

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