AbstractDinoflagellates are main primary producers in the oceans, the cause of algal blooms and endosymbionts of marine invertebrates. Much remains to be understood about their biology, including their peculiar crystalline chromosomes. We assembled 94 chromosome-scale scaffolds of the genome of the coral endosymbiont Symbiodinium microadriaticum and analyzed their organization. Genes are enriched towards the ends of chromosomes and are arranged in alternating unidirectional blocks. Some chromosomes are enriched for genes involved in specific biological processes. The chromosomes fold as linear rods and each is composed of a series of structural domains separated by boundaries. Domain boundaries are positioned at sites where transcription of two gene blocks converges and disappear when cells are treated with chemicals that block transcription, indicating correlations between gene orientation, transcription and chromosome folding. The description of the genetic and spatial organization of the S. microadriaticum genome provides a foundation for deeper exploration of the extraordinary biology of dinoflagellates and their chromosomes.
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