Genome sequences of wild and domestic bactrian camels
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Bactrian camels serve as an important means of transportation in the cold desert regions of China and Mongolia. Here we present a 2.01 Gb draft genome sequence from both a wild and a domestic bactrian camel. We estimate the camel genome to be 2.38 Gb, containing 20,821 protein-coding genes. Our phylogenomics analysis reveals that camels shared common ancestors with other even-toed ungulates about 55-60 million years ago. Rapidly evolving genes in the camel lineage are significantly enriched in metabolic pathways, and these changes may underlie the insulin resistance typically observed in these animals. We estimate the genome-wide heterozygosity rates in both wild and domestic camels to be 1.0 x 10(-3). However, genomic regions with significantly lower heterozygosity are found in the domestic camel, and olfactory receptors are enriched in these regions. Our comparative genomics analyses may also shed light on the genetic basis of the camel's remarkable salt tolerance and unusual immune system.