Reference genomes of channel catfish and blue catfish reveal multiple pericentric chromosome inversions

Geoffrey C. Waldbieser, Shikai Liu, Zihao Yuan, Caitlin E. Older, Dongya Gao, Chenyu Shi, Brian G. Bosworth, Ning Li, Lisui Bao, Mona A. Kirby, Yulin Jin, Monica L. Wood, Brian Scheffler, Sheron Simpson, Ramey C. Youngblood, Mary V. Duke, Linda Ballard, Adam Phillippy, Sergey Koren, Zhanjiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Channel catfish and blue catfish are the most important aquacultured species in the USA. The species do not readily intermate naturally but F1 hybrids can be produced through artificial spawning. F1 hybrids produced by mating channel catfish female with blue catfish male exhibit heterosis and provide an ideal system to study reproductive isolation and hybrid vigor. The purpose of the study was to generate high-quality chromosome level reference genome sequences and to determine their genomic similarities and differences. Results: We present high-quality reference genome sequences for both channel catfish and blue catfish, containing only 67 and 139 total gaps, respectively. We also report three pericentric chromosome inversions between the two genomes, as evidenced by long reads across the inversion junctions from distinct individuals, genetic linkage mapping, and PCR amplicons across the inversion junctions. Recombination rates within the inversional segments, detected as double crossovers, are extremely low among backcross progenies (progenies of channel catfish female × F1 hybrid male), suggesting that the pericentric inversions interrupt postzygotic recombination or survival of recombinants. Identification of channel catfish- and blue catfish-specific genes, along with expansions of immunoglobulin genes and centromeric Xba elements, provides insights into genomic hallmarks of these species. Conclusions: We generated high-quality reference genome sequences for both blue catfish and channel catfish and identified major chromosomal inversions on chromosomes 6, 11, and 24. These perimetric inversions were validated by additional sequencing analysis, genetic linkage mapping, and PCR analysis across the inversion junctions. The reference genome sequences, as well as the contrasted chromosomal architecture should provide guidance for the interspecific breeding programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number67
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Aquaculture
  • Blue catfish
  • Channel catfish
  • Chromosome inversion
  • Fish
  • Genome
  • Reference genome
  • Sequence assembly
  • Speciation
  • Teleost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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