In a major achievement, scientists from ICAR’s Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIBA), Chennai have sequenced and assembled the whole genome of the grey mullet, Mugil cephalus. The whole genome information of an aquaculture species has potential applications in genomic selection and breeding fish for sustainable production and improvement in desirable traits such as disease resistance, growth and development. Mugil cephalus, is commonly distributed across the world and mostly inhabits inshore sea, estuaries and brackishwater areas. The fish is of commercial value to global fisheries and aquaculture, there is also high demand for mullet roe.
The whole genome sequence of Mugil cephalus is a major landmark and this very high quality genome assembly at contig-level contained 848 contigs with N50 length of 20.15 Mb. At scaffold level, the assembly is of 644 Mb length in 583 scaffolds with N50 of 28.32 Mb. The fish genome contains 27,269 protein-coding genes.
The whole genome sequence assembly generated for the first time for Mugil cephalus can be used as a reference genome for family Mugilidae. The high-quality, chromosome-level genome assembly along with the predicted protein sequences would help to gain further in-sights for desirable traits through gene expression studies. The whole genome assembly would provide the baseline information needed to implement genetic improvement programmes for this commercially important fish species in future.
The ICAR-CIBA scientist team involved in fish genome assembly were Dr. M.S. Shekhar, Dr. Vinaya Kumar Katneni, Dr. Ashok Kumar Jangam, Dr. Raymond Jani Angel, Dr. Krishna Sukumaran and Dr. M. Kailasam. The genome sequencing project was financially supported by ICAR-Consortium Research Platform on Genomics and coordinated by Dr. J.K.Jena, DDG, (Fisheries Science). ICAR, New Delhi.