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An Alligator Sequence

Researchers from Zhejiang University and BGI-Shenzhen report that they have sequenced the Chinese alligator, an endangered freshwater crocodilian species, as they write in Cell Reports. Using the Illumina HiSeq 2000, the researchers generated 314.03 Gb of raw sequence that they assembled into a 2.3 Gb genome. In addition, they predicted the Chinese alligator genome houses some 22,200 genes.

Among those genes are a number that aid the alligator in its diving and other behaviors, the researchers add. For example, they uncovered a duplication of the bicarbonate-binding hemoglobin gene.

Additionally, the Chinese alligator, which undergoes temperature-dependent sex determination, appears to lack sex chromosomes. The researchers note that this is the first TSD species to be sequenced.

"The accomplishment of the Chinese alligator genome is significant for understanding its adaptation for both aquatic and terrestrial environments, and more importantly, for the conservation of such an endangered species," says Shengkai Pan, project manager at BGI and author of the paper, according to RedOrbit.