Chromosome-level genome assemblies of the malaria vectors Anopheles coluzzii and Anopheles arabiensis

Anopheles coluzzii and An. arabiensis belong to the An. gambiae complex and are among the major malaria vectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, chromosome-level reference genome assemblies are still lacking for these medically important mosquito species.

In this study, we produced de novo chromosome-level genome assemblies for An. coluzzii and An. arabiensis using the long-read Oxford Nanopore sequencing technology and the Hi-C scaffolding approach. We obtained 273.4 Mbp and 265.7 Mbp assemblies for An. coluzzii and An. arabiensis, respectively. Each assembly consists of three chromosome-scale scaffolds (X, 2, 3), complete mitochondrion, and unordered contigs identified as autosomal pericentromeric DNA, X pericentromeric DNA, and Y sequences. Comparison of these assemblies with the existing assemblies for these species demonstrated that we obtained improved reference-quality genomes. The new assemblies allowed us to identify genomic coordinates for the breakpoint regions of fixed and polymorphic chromosomal inversions in An. coluzzii and An. arabiensis.

The new chromosome-level assemblies will facilitate functional and population genomic studies in An. coluzzii and An. arabiensis. The presented assembly pipeline will accelerate progress toward creating high-quality genome references for other disease vectors.

Authors: Anton Zamyatin, Pavel Avdeyev, Jiangtao Liang, Atashi Sharma, Chujia Chen, Varvara Lukyanchikova, Nikita Alexeev, Zhijian Tu, Max A Alekseyev, Igor V Sharakhov