Chromosomal-level assembly of Juglans sigillata genome using Nanopore, BioNano, and Hi-C analysis


Juglans sigillata, or iron walnut, belonging to the order Juglandales, is an economically important tree species in Asia, especially in the Yunnan province of China. However, little research has been conducted on J. sigillata at the molecular level, which hinders understanding of its evolution, speciation, and synthesis of secondary metabolites, as well as its wide adaptability to its plateau environment. To address these issues, a high-quality reference genome of J. sigillata would be useful.


To construct a high-quality reference genome for J. sigillata, we first generated 38.0 Gb short reads and 66.31 Gb long reads using Illumina and Nanopore sequencing platforms, respectively. The sequencing data were assembled into a 536.50-Mb genome assembly with a contig N50 length of 4.31 Mb. Additionally, we applied BioNano technology to identify contacts among contigs, which were then used to assemble contigs into scaffolds, resulting in a genome assembly with scaffold N50 length of 16.43 Mb and contig N50 length of 4.34 Mb.

To obtain a chromosome-level genome assembly, we constructed 1 Hi-C library and sequenced 79.97 Gb raw reads using the Illumina HiSeq platform. We anchored ∼93% of the scaffold sequences into 16 chromosomes and evaluated the quality of our assembly using the high contact frequency heat map. Repetitive elements account for 50.06% of the genome, and 30,387 protein-coding genes were predicted from the genome, of which 99.8% have been functionally annotated. The genome-wide phylogenetic tree indicated an estimated divergence time between J. sigillata and Juglans regia of 49 million years ago on the basis of single-copy orthologous genes.


We provide the first chromosome-level genome for J. sigillata. It will lay a valuable foundation for future research on the genetic improvement of J. sigillata.

Authors: De-Lu Ning, Tao Wu, Liang-Jun Xiao, Ting Ma, Wen-Liang Fang, Run-Quan Dong, Fu-Liang Cao