Chattopadhyay B, Forcina G, Garg KM, Irestedt M, Guerrini M, Barbanera F, Rheindt FE
Genomics 113 (5) 3430-3438 [2021-09-00; online 2021-08-13]
We produced a high-quality de novo genome assembly of the red-legged partridge A. rufa, the first reference genome of its genus, by utilising novel 10× Chromium technology. The estimated genome size was 1.19 Gb with an overall genome heterozygosity of 0.0022; no runs of homozygosity were observed. In total, 21,589 protein coding genes were identified and assigned to 16,772 orthologs. Of these, 201 emerged as unique to Alectoris and were enriched for positive regulation of epithelial cell migration, viral genome integration and maturation. Using PSMC analysis, we inferred a major demographic decline commencing ~140,000 years ago, consistent with forest expansion and reduction of open habitats during the Eemian interglacial. Present-day populations exhibit the historically lowest genetic diversity. Besides implications for management and conservation, this genome also promises key insights into the physiology of these birds with a view to improving poultry husbandry practices.