Scientific reports. 2021-08-02; 11.1: 15592.

Diploid genomic architecture of Nitzschia inconspicua, an elite biomass production diatom

Oliver A, Podell S, Pinowska A, Traller JC, Smith SR, McClure R, Beliaev A, Bohutskyi P, Hill EA, Rabines A, Zheng H, Allen LZ, Kuo A, Grigoriev IV, Allen AE, Hazlebeck D, Allen EE

PMID: 34341414


A near-complete diploid nuclear genome and accompanying circular mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes have been assembled from the elite commercial diatom species Nitzschia inconspicua. The 50 Mbp haploid size of the nuclear genome is nearly double that of model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, but 30% smaller than closer relative Fragilariopsis cylindrus. Diploid assembly, which was facilitated by low levels of allelic heterozygosity (2.7%), included 14 candidate chromosome pairs composed of long, syntenic contigs, covering 93% of the total assembly. Telomeric ends were capped with an unusual 12-mer, G-rich, degenerate repeat sequence. Predicted proteins were highly enriched in strain-specific marker domains associated with cell-surface adhesion, biofilm formation, and raphe system gliding motility. Expanded species-specific families of carbonic anhydrases suggest potential enhancement of carbon concentration efficiency, and duplicated glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis pathways across cytosolic and organellar compartments may enhance peak metabolic output, contributing to competitive success over other organisms in mixed cultures. The N. inconspicua genome delivers a robust new reference for future functional and transcriptomic studies to illuminate the physiology of benthic pennate diatoms and harness their unique adaptations to support commercial algae biomass and bioproduct production.