Directed Evolution of Genome Assemblies – and Why it is Important

Dr. Harris Lewin, PhD, UC Davis & Earth BioGenome Project (EBP)

How can genomes be assembled to the highest quality and contiguity at the lowest cost in an ever-changing scientific environment? My story will trace the directed evolution of 28 genome assemblies of the Narwhal, an iconic cetacean known at the “unicorn of the sea” because of its long tooth tusk. While understanding the evolution and amazing phenotypes of the Narwhal is our ultimate goal, the evolution of genome assemblies from short-read to long read-based assemblies with Dovetail scaffolding has been an interesting scientific journey in itself. Different sequencing approaches will be discussed in the light of genome assembly evolution, and their importance for understanding genome biology.