Our 'genome miniaturization' work was published on Genom Proteom Bioinform as a cover story


Following our cover story on the evolution of sex chromosomes in scallops published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, our research article on the evolution of swimming ability in scallops, specifically the Asian moon scallop (Amusium pleuronectes), has been selected by Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics! The main finding of this article is that shellfish and birds have acquired the ability to swim and fly respectively through convergent genome miniaturization (i.e. both show enhanced energy supply pathways and diminished miniaturization-related pathways).

The journal cover features a Song Dynasty painting of a mountain bird in a pine stream as its backdrop, depicting a flying bird swooping down from the sky to capture an Asian moon scallop attempting to escape by swimming. This imagery unites the two central elements of the article (shellfish swimming and bird flying) and suggests that the need to evade natural predators may have driven the evolution of swimming ability in shellfish.

The overall picture represents the direction of evolution by the stream flow (from right to left). Shellfish evolution starts from the protostomatid ancestor (with hermit crabs poking out from the snail shell, signifying the common ancestor that is about to evolve separately), and evolves first with crustaceans/molting animals (crabs, turtle feet), then from single shell to double shell (abalone/snail-->clam/scallop), and from burrowing to swimming ability (clam-->scallop). DNA sequences near the shell characterize the direction of genome evolution (e.g., sparse GCTA for "Genome S/Cize To smAll", compact GCTG for "Genome S/Cize Too biG "; and complementarity and divergence of neighboring sequences, representing DNA double helix and evolutionary branching evolution). Birds show convergent evolution in their ability to fly, with birds upstream of evolution (closer to the clam) being more clumsy and birds downstream (closer to the scallop) having the ability to fly lightly.

Up to now, our papers have been selected as the cover story for three times and received several highlight/feature reviews in the field of genomics and evolutionary biology, including Nature Ecology & Evolution, Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics.

Paper link:

Li Y#, Liu Y#, Yu H, Liu F, Han W, Zeng Q, Zhang Y, Zhang L, Hu J, Bao Z, Wang S*. (2022) Adaptive bird-like genome miniaturization during the evolution of scallop swimming lifestyle. Genomics Proteomics & Bioinformatics

Extended reading:

Hughes AL, Hughes MK. (1995) Small genomes for better flyers. Nature. 377: 391.

Organ CL, Shedlock AM, Meade A, Pagel M, Edwards SV. (2007) Origin of avian genome size and structure in non-avian dinosaurs. Nature. 446: 180-184.

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