Mouse Lemur Genome Project

Image source: Gabriella Skollar; editor: Rebecca Lewis (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About the Project

The BCM-HGSC is sequencing the genome of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus).

A high quality draft sequence of the reference genome will be assembled from a female mouse lemur, using read data produced by both the Sanger and Illumina platforms. The BCM-HGSC is currently generating deep Illumina read coverage from the same animal that was previously used by the Broad Institute to generate approximately 2x Sanger sequence coverage. The BCM-HGSC will also use the Pacific Biosciences RS platform to generate several-fold coverage of long reads that will be used to close gaps in the initial Illumina-Sanger assembly.

The BCM-HGSC is collaborating in this project with Dr. Anne Yoder of the Duke Lemur Center. The reference animal was obtained from the DLC mouse lemur colony.

In addition to the deep sequence coverage of the reference mouse lemur, BCM-HGSC will generate whole genome sequences from additional mouse lemurs, both to identify DNA sequence variation within Microcebus murinus and to characterize genomic differences among species within this genus. Analyses will include comparisons with the human and other nonhuman primate genomes.

Mouse lemurs are members of the Family Cheirogaleidae, strepsirrhine primates that diverged from the ancestors of humans and apes more than 50 million years ago.

The genus Microcebus is endemic to Madagascar, and consists of at least 12 recognized species. M. murinus, the gray mouse lemur, is nocturnal with small body size (55-65 grams) and complex social behavior.

Mouse lemurs provide important comparative genomic information for analyses of the evolution of the human and other primate genomes. As strepsirrhine primates, they serve as an outgroup to all comparisons among New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, apes and humans. Mouse lemurs are also used as animal models for various studies related to human biology and disease, including aging, reproductive biology and Alzheimer’s disease. 

The project is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).        

Genomic Resources

Additional Resources

Learn more about the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)