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The plant parasite Pratylenchus coffeaecarries a minimal nematode genome

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Here we report the genome sequence of the lesion nematode, Pratylenchus coffeae, a significant pest of banana and other staple crops in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. Initial analysis of the 19.67 Mb genome reveals 6712 protein encoding genes, the smallest number found in a metazoan, although sufficient to make a nematode. Significantly, no developmental or physiological pathways are obviously missing when compared to the model free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which possesses approximately 21 000 genes. The highly streamlined P. coffeaegenome may reveal a remarkable functional plasticity in nematode genomes and may also indicate evolutionary routes to increased specialisation in other nematode genera. In addition, the P. coffeaegenome may begin to reveal the core set of genes necessary to make a multicellular animal. Nematodes exhibit striking diversity in the niches they occupy, and the sequence of P. coffeaeis a tool to begin to unravel the mechanisms that enable the extraordinary success of this phylum as both free-living and parasitic forms. Unlike the sedentary endoparasitic root-knot nematodes ( Meloidogynespp.), P. coffeaeis a root-lesion nematode that does not establish a feeding site within the root. Because the P. coffeaenematode genome encodes fewer than half the number of genes found in the genomes of root-knot nematodes, comparative analysis to determine genes P. coffeaedoes not carry may help to define development of more sophisticated forms of nematode-plant interactions. The P. coffeaegenome sequence may help to define timelines related to evolution of parasitism amongst nematodes. The genome of P. coffeaeis a significant new tool to understand not only nematode evolution but animal biology in general.

Affiliations: 1: 4Plant Nematode Genetics Group, Department of Plant Pathology, NC State University, Box 7253, Raleigh, NC 27695-7253, USA; 2: 5Genomic Sciences Laboratory, NC State University, Box 7614, Raleigh, NC 27695-7614, USA; 3: 2David H. Murdock Research Institute, General Administration, 150 Research Campus Drive, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA; 4: 6David H. Murdock Research Institute, Genomics Sequencing Laboratory, 150 Research Campus Drive, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA; 5: 3David H. Murdock Research Institute, Information Resources & Bioinformatics, 150 Research Campus Drive, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA

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2015-07-22
2017-11-23

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