The evolution of the amniotic egg was one of the great evolutionary innovations in the history of life, freeing vertebrates from an obligatory connection to water and thus permitting the conquest of terrestrial environments1. Among amniotes, genome sequences are available for mammals2 and birds3–5, but not for non-avian reptiles. Here we report the genome sequence of the North American green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis. We find that A. carolinensis microchromosomes are highly syntenic with chicken microchromosomes, yet do not exhibit the high GC and low repeat content that are characteristic of avian microchromosomes3. Also, A. carolinensis mobile elements are very young and diverse – more so than in any other sequenced amniote genome. This lizard genome’s GC content is also unusual in its homogeneity, unlike the regionally variable GC content found in mammals and birds6. We describe and assign sequence to the previously unknown A. carolinensis X chromosome. Comparative gene analysis shows that amniote egg proteins have evolved significantly more rapidly than other proteins. An anole phylogeny resolves basal branches to illuminate the history of their repeated adaptive radiations.
Alföldi, J., Di Palma, F., Grabherr, M., Williams, C., Kong, L., Mauceli, E. . . . Lindblad-Toh, K. (2011). The genome of the green anole lizard and a comparative analysis with birds and mammals. Nature, 477(7366), 587-591. doi:10.1038/nature10390.