Genome of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica reveals innovation in non-coding sequences. Academic Article uri icon


  • We report a high-quality draft of the genome sequence of the grey, short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica). As the first metatherian ('marsupial') species to be sequenced, the opossum provides a unique perspective on the organization and evolution of mammalian genomes. Distinctive features of the opossum chromosomes provide support for recent theories about genome evolution and function, including a strong influence of biased gene conversion on nucleotide sequence composition, and a relationship between chromosomal characteristics and X chromosome inactivation. Comparison of opossum and eutherian genomes also reveals a sharp difference in evolutionary innovation between protein-coding and non-coding functional elements. True innovation in protein-coding genes seems to be relatively rare, with lineage-specific differences being largely due to diversification and rapid turnover in gene families involved in environmental interactions. In contrast, about 20% of eutherian conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) are recent inventions that postdate the divergence of Eutheria and Metatheria. A substantial proportion of these eutherian-specific CNEs arose from sequence inserted by transposable elements, pointing to transposons as a major creative force in the evolution of mammalian gene regulation.

published proceedings

  • Nature

altmetric score

  • 109.394

author list (cited authors)

  • Mikkelsen, T. S., Wakefield, M. J., Aken, B., Amemiya, C. T., Chang, J. L., Duke, S., ... Lindblad-Toh, K.

citation count

  • 609

complete list of authors

  • Mikkelsen, Tarjei S||Wakefield, Matthew J||Aken, Bronwen||Amemiya, Chris T||Chang, Jean L||Duke, Shannon||Garber, Manuel||Gentles, Andrew J||Goodstadt, Leo||Heger, Andreas||Jurka, Jerzy||Kamal, Michael||Mauceli, Evan||Searle, Stephen MJ||Sharpe, Ted||Baker, Michelle L||Batzer, Mark A||Benos, Panayiotis V||Belov, Katherine||Clamp, Michele||Cook, April||Cuff, James||Das, Radhika||Davidow, Lance||Deakin, Janine E||Fazzari, Melissa J||Glass, Jacob L||Grabherr, Manfred||Greally, John M||Gu, Wanjun||Hore, Timothy A||Huttley, Gavin A||Kleber, Michael||Jirtle, Randy L||Koina, Edda||Lee, Jeannie T||Mahony, Shaun||Marra, Marco A||Miller, Robert D||Nicholls, Robert D||Oda, Mayumi||Papenfuss, Anthony T||Parra, Zuly E||Pollock, David D||Ray, David A||Schein, Jacqueline E||Speed, Terence P||Thompson, Katherine||VandeBerg, John L||Wade, Claire M||Walker, Jerilyn A||Waters, Paul D||Webber, Caleb||Weidman, Jennifer R||Xie, Xiaohui||Zody, Michael C||Graves, Jennifer A Marshall||Ponting, Chris P||Breen, Matthew||Samollow, Paul B||Lander, Eric S||Lindblad-Toh, Kerstin

publication date

  • January 2007

published in