Report of research results: Decoding of Xenopus laevis genome: elucidation of whole genome duplication important for the evolution of the vertebrate including human.
Minoru Watanabe, Ph.D.
Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tokushima University
Decoding of Xenopus laevis genome: elucidation of whole genome duplication important for the evolution of the vertebrate including human.
The African clawed frog Xenopus laevis is one of the most invaluable model animals to study the mechanism of animal development and cell differentiation since 1950s. Dr. Gordon won the Nobel Prize in 2012 by using this frog for the study of the cellular initialization, together with Dr. Yamanaka. However, X. laevis was the only model animal whose genomic sequences were not determined yet, because of its complexed genomic structures. In 2009, Japanese and the US scientists launched the project teams independently to determine whole genomic sequences of X. laevis. Through this study, we hoped that we got insights to understand two rounds of whole genome duplication important for the evolution of the vertebrate.
This work was published in Nature, 538, 336-343, 20 October 2016 (doi:10.1038/nature19840)
The title of this paper: Genome evolution in the allotetraploid frog Xenopus laevis
There are seventy-four coauthors in this paper. Among them, thirty are Japanese scientists from twenty-three laboratories including oversea.
We elucidated the structures of X. laevis whole genome and proved the allotetraploid hypothesis by tracing the origins of the X. laevis genome from its extinct progenitor diploids. We also successfully identified the two subgenomes from its extinct progenitors and elucidated the evolution of genomes after allotetraploidization occurred 18 million years ago.
The genomic information of X. laevis is useful for many aspects of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Moreover, the recently developed genome-editing technology that requires genomic information enables us to handle any genes of interest in the organisms. Having whole genomic information, now we can study human genetic diseases by using X. laevis as a model animal.
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