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Gigascience. 2018 Apr 1;7(4). doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giy038.

The draft genome sequence of forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii).

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Key Laboratory of Bioresources and Ecoenvironment (Ministry of Education), College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, People's Republic of China.
Sichuan Engineering Research Center for Medicinal Animals, Xichang 615000, People's Republic of China.
College of Life Science and Engineering, Chongqing Three Gorges University, Chongqing 404100, People's Republic of China.



The forest musk deer, Moschus berezovskii, is one of seven musk deer (Moschus spp.) and is distributed in Southwest China. Akin to other musk deer, the forest musk deer has been traditionally and is currently hunted for its musk (i.e., global perfume industry). Considerable hunting pressure and habitat loss have caused significant population declines. Consequently, the Chinese government commenced captive breeding programs for musk harvesting in the 1950s. However, the prevalence of fatal diseases is considerably restricting population increases. Disease severity and extent are exacerbated by inbreeding and genetic diversity declines in captive musk deer populations. It is essential that knowledge of captive and wild forest musk deer populations' immune system and genome be gained in order to improve their physical and genetic health. We have thus sequenced the whole genome of the forest musk deer, completed the genomic assembly and annotation, and performed preliminary bioinformatic analyses.


A total of 407 Gb raw reads from whole-genome sequencing were generated using the Illumina HiSeq 4000 platform. The final genome assembly is around 2.72 Gb, with a contig N50 length of 22.6 kb and a scaffold N50 length of 2.85 Mb. We identified 24,352 genes and found that 42.05% of the genome is composed of repetitive elements. We also detected 1,236 olfactory receptor genes. The genome-wide phylogenetic tree indicated that the forest musk deer was within the order Artiodactyla, and it appeared as the sister clade of four members of Bovidae. In total, 576 genes were under positive selection in the forest musk deer lineage.


We provide the first genome sequence and gene annotation for the forest musk deer. The availability of these resources will be very useful for the conservation and captive breeding of this endangered and economically important species and for reconstructing the evolutionary history of the order Artiodactyla.

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