Chinese researchers have completed the whole-genome sequencing of the soft-shelled turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), one of the world’s largest and rarest known turtle species.
There were only four individuals of the species on record at the beginning of 2019, including one female and one male in China.
The death of China’s female soft-shelled turtle in 2019 put this species in a dire conservation state.
Scientists from the Kunming Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences cooperated with the Changsha Ecological Zoo and collected tissue samples from the dead female during a histopathological examination.
They sequenced and assembled the female soft-shelled turtle’s high-quality draft chromosome-level genome by combining relevant sequencing data.
The study not only provides a genomic resource for scientists to study the species using the strategy of comparative genomics, but also provides a data basis for us to find more potential soft-shelled turtle individuals in the wild, according to the paper published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources.