Studies in tunicates such as Ciona have revealed new insights into the evolutionary origins of chordate development. Ciona populations are characterized by high levels of natural genetic variation, between 1 and 5%. This variation has provided abundant material for forward genetic studies. In the current study, we make use of deep sequencing and homozygosity mapping to map spontaneous mutations in outbred populations. With this method we have mapped two spontaneous developmental mutants. In Ciona intestinalis we mapped a short-tail mutation with strong phenotypic similarity to a previously identified mutant in the related species Ciona savignyi. Our bioinformatic approach mapped the mutation to a narrow interval containing a single mutated gene, a-laminin3,4,5, which is the gene previously implicated in C. savignyi. In addition, we mapped a novel genetic mutation disrupting neural tube closure in C. savignyi to a T-type Ca 2+ channel gene. The high efficiency and unprecedented mapping resolution of our study is a powerful advantage for developmental genetics in Ciona, and may find application in other outbred species. © 2014 by the Genetics Society of America.
Abdul-Wajid, S., Veeman, M. T., Chiba, S., Turner, T. L., & Smith, W. C. (2014). Exploiting the extraordinary genetic polymorphism of Ciona for developmental genetics with whole genome sequencing. Genetics, 197(1), 49–59. https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.114.161778