The gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica) is an established laboratory-bred marsupial model for biomedical research. It is a critical species for comparative genomics research, providing the pivotal phylogenetic outgroup for studies of derived vs ancestral states of genomic/epigenomic characteristics for eutherian mammal lineages. To characterize the current genetic profile of this laboratory marsupial, we examined 79 individuals from eight established laboratory strains. Double digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing and whole-genome resequencing experiments were performed to investigate the genetic architecture in these strains. A total of 66,640 highquality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified. We analyzed SNP density, average heterozygosity, nucleotide diversity, and population differentiation parameter Fst within and between the eight strains. Principal component and population structure analysis clearly resolve the strains at the level of their ancestral founder populations, and the genetic architecture of these strains correctly reflects their breeding history. We confirmed the successful establishment of the first inbred laboratory opossum strain LSD (inbreeding coefficient F > 0.99) and a nearly inbred strain FD2M1 (0.98 < F < 0.99), each derived from a different ancestral background. These strains are suitable for various experimental protocols requiring controlled genetic backgrounds and for intercrosses and backcrosses that can generate offspring with informative SNPs for studying a variety of genetic and epigenetic processes. Together with recent advances in reproductive manipulation and CRISPR/Cas9 techniques for Monodelphis domestica, the existence of distinctive inbred strains will enable genome editing on different genetic backgrounds, greatly expanding the utility of this marsupial model for biomedical research.
Xiao Xiong, Paul B Samollow, Wenqi Cao, Richard Metz, Chao Zhang, Ana C Leandro, John L VandeBerg, Xu Wang, Genetic and genomic architecture in eight strains of the laboratory opossum Monodelphis domestica, G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 2021;, jkab389, https://doi.org/10.1093/g3journal/jkab389
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