Today, we are releasing an upgrade to the genome assembly of emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae. Emus are the second-largest living bird, by height, and the largest bird in Australia where it is endemic.
The emu genome assembly is the first Palaeognathae bird to be released by the DNA Zoo, and the first ever chromosome-length genome assembly in Paleognathae. Palaeognathae, or paleognaths, is one of the two living clades of birds – the other being Neognathae . Check out how the emu chromosomes relate to those of chicken – a representative neognathan, below.
Palaeognathae contains five extant branches of flightless lineages (plus two extinct clades), termed ratites, and one flying lineage, the tinamous. Read about the latest insights into molecular evolution of flightlessness in (Sackton et al., Science, 2019), and stay tuned for more!