Chromosome-level genome assembly of the Tibetan fox (Vuples ferrilata)
shows signatures of adaption to the harsh environmental stresses of the
The Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilata) belongs to Canidae of Carnivorous
Order and is one of the unique species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
However, the molecular mechanism of its adaptation to high altitude is
still unclear. Here, we applied Oxford Nanopore sequencing and Hi-C
technology to assemble the chromosome-level draft genome of V.
ferrilata. A 2.38-Gb genome with an N50 length of 133.96 Mb was
obtained. The proportion of repeated sequences is 33.77%. The 157
contigs were further assembled into 18 chromosomes with a sequence
length of 2378.42 Mb, accounting for 99.95% of the total length.
Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Tibetan fox formed a clade with
the red fox, with an estimated divergence time of 3.27 MYA. However, the
significantly over-represented pathways and significantly enriched
GO-terms of expanded gene families in V. ferrilata genome were mainly
related to hypoxia response and energy metabolism, which indicated a
mechanism strategy of V. ferrilata for high-altitude adaption.
Furthermore, the selection signature analysis identified genes
associated with oxygen transport, DNA damage and repair, and
angiogenesis in V. ferrilata when compared with the other relative
species. The construction of the genome of V. ferrilata provided
valuable information for the further genetic mechanism analysis of
important biological processes and will facilitate the research of
genetic changes during evolution.