Genome sequencing of deep-sea hydrothermal vent snails reveals adaptions to extreme environments

Xiang Zeng, Yaolei Zhang, Lingfeng Meng, Guangyi Fan, Jie Bai, Jianwei Chen, Yue Song, Inge Seim, Congyan Wang, Zenghua Shao, Nanxi Liu, Haorong Lu, Xiaoteng Fu, Liping Wang, Xin Liu, Shanshan Liu*, Zongze Shao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum) is highly adapted to deep-sea hydrothermal vents and has drawn much interest since its discovery. However, the limited information on its genome has impeded further related research and understanding of its adaptation to deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Findings: Here, we report the whole genome sequencing and assembly of the scaly-foot snail and another snail (Gigantopelta aegis), which inhabits similar environments. Using Oxford Nanopore Technology, 10X Genomics, and Hi-C technologies, we obtained a chromosome-level genome of C. squamiferum with an N50 size of 20.71 Mb. By constructing a phylogenetic tree, we found that these 2 deep-sea snails evolved independently of other snails. Their divergence from each other occurred ∼66.3 million years ago. Comparative genomic analysis showed that different snails have diverse genome sizes and repeat contents. Deep-sea snails have more DNA transposons and long terminal repeats but fewer long interspersed nuclear elements than other snails. Gene family analysis revealed that deep-sea snails experienced stronger selective pressures than freshwater snails, and gene families related to the nervous system, immune system, metabolism, DNA stability, antioxidation, and biomineralization were significantly expanded in scaly-foot snails. We also found 251 H-2 Class II histocompatibility antigen, A-U α chain-like (H2-Aal) genes, which exist uniquely in the Gigantopelta aegis genome. This finding is important for investigating the evolution of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Conclusion: Our study provides new insights into deep-sea snail genomes and valuable resources for further studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiaa139
Issue number12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Deep-sea snails
  • Genome assembly
  • Comparative genomics
  • Biomineralization


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