King cobra

(Ophiophagus hannah)

June 24, 2020 We’ve sequenced the genome of the largest venomous snake with short reads and published that in 2015 in PNAS. This genome showed that long reads are vital to resolve the most complex (and interesting) regions of this genome and it was the main reason to join the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MAP program in 2014.

With the increased throughput and significantly increased accuracy of the nanopore platform we finally lived up to our promise to sequence the King cobra genome with long nanopore reads and chart the Three finger toxin gene family (3FTX). This gene family encode small peptides with interesting pharmaceutical properties. In the King cobra this family has expanded and the genes and surrounding regions couldn’t be resolved  with short reads. The assembly of this genome was done with our own Tulip assembler and the 1.5 Gbp genome was resolved in 357 contigs with and impressive N50 of 15.6 Mbp. The BUSCO score for this genome was 91.4%, and the Maker annotation pipeline annotated 16708 transcripts in this genome. At the moment manual curation of the annotation is in progress at the Institute of Biology of  Leiden University.