When life gives you lemurs…

The mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) is a small primate in the family Lemuridae (lemurs), native to dry deciduous forests in northwestern Madagascar. Clearing of these forests for pastureland and charcoal production is a big threat to the survival of mongoose lemurs [1]. Their numbers have dwindled by about 80% over a period of the last 25 years, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has rated their conservation status as "critically endangered" [2]. If you want to help, consider donating to facilities that house captive mongoose lemurs, e.g. the Duke Lemur Center!

Today we release the chromosome-length genome assembly for the mongoose lemur, here. The assembly was done following the $1K-model, see (Dudchenko et al., 2018) for details. The blood sample for library prep was donated by a male individual and provided to us by SeaWorld.

Together with the upgrade to the blue-eyed black lemur genome assembly, here, (based on the draft from Meyer et al., 2015), this is our second chromosome-length genome in the Lemuridae family, so that we can start, for the first time, comparing lemur genomes and exploring how they might have evolved. See below how the assemblies of the mongoose lemur and the blue-eyed black lemur compare to each other, and to the assemblies of their cousins in the DNA Zoo collection: the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus, shared here) and the Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli, shared here).

Whole-genome alignments between the new genome assembly for the mongoose lemur (2n=60, Eulemur_mongoze_HiC) and those of the blue-eyed black lemur (2n=46, Eflavifronsk33QCA_HiC), gray mouse lemur (2n=66, Mmur_3.0_HiC) and Coquerel’s sifaka (2n=48, Pcoq_1.0_HiC).

Notice a big inversion on chrX (#40 in the Eulemur_mongoz_HiC genome assembly) in Eulemurs as compared to their primate relatives (circled in the plots above). This is a fairly unique: the metacentric X chromosome comprising approximately 5% of the genome is a relatively constant feature of all mammalian karyotypes.

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