Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) is an exceptionally long-necked antelope from East Africa. They feed at higher reaches than most other gazelles and antelopes: standing on their hind legs they can reach as high as eight feet off the ground !
Due to habitat loss and fragmentation today the gerenuks are classified as near threatened . Populations have declined by 25 percent over the last 14 years, and it is now estimated that gerenuk is close to meeting the threshold for being uplisted to vulnerable .
Today, we share the chromosome-length assembly for the gerenuk. This is another upgrade from a recent Science paper by Chen, Qiu, Juiang, Wang, Lin, Li et al. We are grateful to Houston Zoo for donating a sample that was used for in situ Hi-C library preparation needed for the upgrade!
This is the third member of the Bovidae family in our collection. The Bovidae are the most diverse group of living ungulates that includes many agriculturally important animals such as cattle, goat and sheep. See below how the genome assemblies of the three genomes (the bison Bison bison, the sable antelope Hippotragus niger and the gerenuk Litocranius walleri, all corresponding to 2n=60 karyotype) align to the genome of the cow, from (Zimin et al., Genome Biol. 2009). Just as noted in our last post on ruminant genomes, complex rearrangements are observed on the sex chromosome (aligning to chr#30 in the cow). Stay tuned for more ruminant genome assemblies!