The Scaly-foot Snail genome and implications for the origins of biomineralised armour

Jin SUN, Chong CHEN, Norio MIYAMOTO, Runsheng LI, Julia D. SIGWART, Ting XU, Yanan SUN, Wai Chuen WONG, Jack C.H. IP, Weipeng ZHANG, Yi LAN, Dass BISSESSUR, Tomo-o WATSUJI, Hiromi Kayama WATANABE, Yoshihiro TAKAKI, Kazuho IKEO, Nobuyuki FUJII, Kazutoshi YOSHITAKE, Jian Wen QIU, Ken TAKAIPei Yuan QIAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The Scaly-foot Snail, Chrysomallon squamiferum, presents a combination of biomineralised features, reminiscent of enigmatic early fossil taxa with complex shells and sclerites such as sachtids, but in a recently-diverged living species which even has iron-infused hard parts. Thus the Scaly-foot Snail is an ideal model to study the genomic mechanisms underlying the evolutionary diversification of biomineralised armour. Here, we present a high-quality whole-genome assembly and tissue-specific transcriptomic data, and show that scale and shell formation in the Scaly-foot Snail employ independent subsets of 25 highly-expressed transcription factors. Comparisons with other lophotrochozoan genomes imply that this biomineralisation toolkit is ancient, though expression patterns differ across major lineages. We suggest that the ability of lophotrochozoan lineages to generate a wide range of hard parts, exemplified by the remarkable morphological disparity in Mollusca, draws on a capacity for dynamic modification of the expression and positioning of toolkit elements across the genome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1657
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date8 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the captain and crew of R/V Yokosuka during cruises YK13-02 (principal scientist: Manabu Nishizawa), YK13-03 (principal scientist: Kentaro Naka-mura) and YK16-02E (principal scientist: Ken Takai), and pilots of DSV Shinkai 6500. Takuro Nunoura (JAMSTEC) is gratefully acknowledged for bringing together collaborative efforts. This research was financially supported by the China Ocean Mineral Resource Research and Development Association (DY135-E2-1-03 to P.-Y.Q.), the Hong Kong Branch of South Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (SMSEGL20Sc01 to P.-Y.Q.), the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (GRF grant No. 16101219 to J.S., C.C., and P.-Y.Q.), and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (18K06401 to C.C. and H.K.W.). Illumina sequencing was performed by Novogene (Beijing, China). Sampling in the Mauritian EEZ was approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade, Mauritian Government (Ref. 29/2014; 50/38/24 V2).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


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