Publications

Small, but surprisingly repetitive genomes: Transposon expansion and not polyploidy has driven a doubling in genome size in a metazoan species complex

Published in BMC Genomics, 2019

Here, we sequenced and analysed the genomes of four species of this complex with nuclear DNA contents spanning 110- 422 Mbp. To establish the likely mechanisms of genome size change, we analysed both sequencing read libraries and assemblies for signatures of polyploidy and repetitive element content. We also compared these genomes to that of B. calyciflorus, the closest relative with a sequenced genome (293 Mbp nuclear DNA content). Despite the very large differences in genome size, we saw no evidence of ploidy level changes across the B. plicatilis complex. However, repetitive element content explained a large portion of genome size variation (at least 54%). The species with the largest genome, B. asplanchnoidis, has a strikingly high 44% repetitive element content, while the smaller B. plicatilis genomes contain between 14% and 25% repetitive elements. According to our analyses, the B. calyciflorus genome contains 39% repetitive elements, which is substantially higher than previously reported (21%), and suggests that high repetitive element load could be widespread in monogonont rotifers.

Recommended citation: Blommaert J., Riss S., Heacox-Lea B., Mark-Welch D., Stelzer CP. (2019). "Small, but surprisingly repetitive genomes: Transposon expansion and not polyploidy has driven a doubling in genome size in a metazoan species complex ." BMC Genomics https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12864-019-5859-y

Genomic causes of large intraspecific genome size variation in a species of rotifer

Published in , 2018

Here, we investigate the causes of large instraspecific genome size variation in Brachionus asplanchnoidis, a species within the B. plicatilis species complex. The analysis is almost completed and hopefully the results will be publishable soon!

Recommended citation: Blommaert J., Riss S., Heacox-Lea B., Mark-Welch D., Stelzer CP. (in prep). "Genomic causes of large intraspecific genome size variation in a species of rotifer." in prep

The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization

Published in Genome Biology, 2015

These two bumblebee genomes provide a foundation for post-genomic research on these key pollinators and insect societies. Overall, gene repertoires suggest that the route to advanced eusociality in bees was mediated by many small changes in many genes and processes, and not by notable expansion or depauperation.

Recommended citation: Sadd, Ben M, et al. (2015). "The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization." Genome Biology. 16(76). https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-015-0623-3