An emuzing genome

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.


This genome assembly is based on a recently published work by (Sackton et al., Science, 2019). We thank SeaWorld for the sample used for Hi-C library preparation!


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 [1]. Check out how the emu chromosomes relate to those of chicken – a representative neognathan, below.

Whole-genome alignment plot between the new chromosome-length genome assembly of emu and the chicken genome assembly (GRCg6a).

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!

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