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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 May 15;52(10):6009-6022. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b00837. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

The Toxicogenome of Hyalella azteca: A Model for Sediment Ecotoxicology and Evolutionary Toxicology.

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School for the Environment , University of Massachusetts Boston , Boston , Massachusetts 02125 United States.
Aquatic Systems Biology Unit , Technical University of Munich , D-85354 Freising , Germany.
Department of Biological Sciences , University of Cincinnati , Cincinnati , Ohio 45221 United States.
Forestry and Natural Resources , Purdue University , West Lafayette , Indiana 47907 United States.
Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library , U.S. Department of Agriculture , Beltsville , Maryland 20705 United States.
Human Genome Sequencing Center , Baylor College of Medicine , Houston , Texas 77030 United States.
OmicSoft Corporation, Cary , North Carolina 27513 United States.
Perelman School of Medicine , University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 19104 United States.
School of Biological Sciences , Georgia Institute of Technology , Atlanta , Georgia 30332 United States.
Biology Department , University of Rochester , Rochester , New York 14627 United States.
Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Marine Science Center , Northeastern University , Nahant , Massachusetts 01908 United States.
Department of Biological Sciences , Wayne State University , Detroit Michigan 48202 United States.
Department of Entomology , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana , Illinois 61801 United States.
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences , University of Copenhagen , DK-1871 Frederiksberg , Denmark.
Center of Rapid Evolution (CORE) and Department of Integrative Biology , University of Wisconsin , Madison , Wisconsin 53706 United States.
School of Biosciences , University of Birmingham , Birmingham B15 2TT U.K.
National Exposure Research Laboratory , United States Environmental Protection Agency , Cincinnati , Ohio 45268 United States.
Department of Entomology , Texas A&M University , College Station , Texas 77843 United States.
Department of Biology , University of Oklahoma , Norman , Oklahoma 73019 United States.
Laboratory for Evolution and Development, Department of Biochemistry , University of Otago , Dunedin , 9054 New Zealand.
Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory , Berkeley , California 94720 United States.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Urrbrae SA 5064 Australia.
Department of Microbiology & Cell Science , University of Florida , Gainesville , Florida 32611 United States.
Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, Department of Physiological Sciences , University of Florida , Gainesville , Florida 32611 United States.
Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics , National Taiwan University , Taipei , 10617 Taiwan.
McConnell Group, Cincinnati , Ohio 45268 , United States.
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics , Baylor College of Medicine , Houston , Texas 77030 United States.


Hyalella azteca is a cryptic species complex of epibenthic amphipods of interest to ecotoxicology and evolutionary biology. It is the primary crustacean used in North America for sediment toxicity testing and an emerging model for molecular ecotoxicology. To provide molecular resources for sediment quality assessments and evolutionary studies, we sequenced, assembled, and annotated the genome of the H. azteca U.S. Lab Strain. The genome quality and completeness is comparable with other ecotoxicological model species. Through targeted investigation and use of gene expression data sets of H. azteca exposed to pesticides, metals, and other emerging contaminants, we annotated and characterized the major gene families involved in sequestration, detoxification, oxidative stress, and toxicant response. Our results revealed gene loss related to light sensing, but a large expansion in chemoreceptors, likely underlying sensory shifts necessary in their low light habitats. Gene family expansions were also noted for cytochrome P450 genes, cuticle proteins, ion transporters, and include recent gene duplications in the metal sequestration protein, metallothionein. Mapping of differentially expressed transcripts to the genome significantly increased the ability to functionally annotate toxicant responsive genes. The H. azteca genome will greatly facilitate development of genomic tools for environmental assessments and promote an understanding of how evolution shapes toxicological pathways with implications for environmental and human health.

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