The Genome of the Poecilogonous Annelid Streblospio benedicti

Christina Zakas, Nathan D. Harry, Elizabeth H. Scholl, Matthew V. Rockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Streblospio benedicti is a common marine annelid that has become an important model for developmental evolution. It is the only known example of poecilogony (where two distinct developmental modes occur within a single species) that is due to a heritable difference in egg size. The dimorphic developmental programs and life-histories exhibited in this species depend on differences within the genome, making it an optimal model for understanding the genomic basis of developmental divergence. Studies using S. benedicti have begun to uncover the genetic and genomic principles that underlie developmental uncoupling, but until now they have been limited by the lack of availability of genomic tools. Here, we present an annotated chromosomal-level genome assembly of S. benedicti generated from a combination of Illumina reads, Nanopore long reads, Chicago and Hi-C chromatin interaction sequencing, and a genetic map from experimental crosses. At 701.4 Mb, the S. benedicti genome is the largest annelid genome to date that has been assembled to chromosomal scaffolds. The complete genome of S. benedicti is valuable for functional genomic analyses of development and evolution, as well as phylogenetic comparison within the annelida and the Lophotrochozoa. Despite having two developmental modes, there is no evidence of genome duplication or substantial gene number expansions. Instead, lineage-specific repeats account for much of the expansion of this genome compared with other annelids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberevac008
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Lophotrochozoa
  • developmental genomics
  • life-history evolution
  • poecilogony
  • Larva/genetics
  • Animals
  • Annelida/genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Polychaeta/genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'The Genome of the Poecilogonous Annelid Streblospio benedicti'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this