The polyploid genome of the mitotic parthenogenetic root-knot nematode Meloidogyne enterolobii
Abstract Root-knot nematodes (genus Meloidogyne ) are plant parasitic species that cause huge economic loss in the agricultural industry and affect the prosperity of communities in developing countries. Control methods against these plant pests are sparse and the current preferred method is deployment of plant cultivars bearing resistance genes against Meloidogyne species. However, some species such as M. enterolobii are not controlled by the resistance genes deployed in the most important crop plants cultivated in Europe. The recent identification of this species in Europe is thus a major concern. Like the other most damaging Meloidogyne species (e.g. M. incognita , M. arenaria and M. javanica ), M. enterolobii reproduces by obligatory mitotic parthenogenesis. Genomic singularities such as a duplicated genome structure and a relatively high proportion of transposable elements have previously been described in the above mentioned mitotic parthenogenetic Meloidogyne. To gain a better understanding of the genomic and evolutionary background we sequenced the genome of M. enterolobii using high coverage short and long read technologies. The information contained in the long reads helped produce a highly contiguous genome assembly of M. enterolobii , thus enabling us to perform high quality annotations of coding and non-coding genes, and transposable elements. The genome assembly and annotation reveals a genome structure similar to the ones described in the other mitotic parthenogenetic Meloidogyne, described as recent hybrids. Most of the genome is present in 3 different copies that show high divergence. Because most of the genes belong to these duplicated regions only few gene losses took place, which suggest a recent polyploidization. The most likely hypothesis to reconcile high divergence between genome copies despite few gene losses and translocations is also a recent hybrid origin. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found an abundance of transposable elements at least as high as the one observed in the mitotic parthenogenetic nematodes M. incognita and M. javanica .