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University of Gothenburg

Amphiura filiformis

IMAGO species - brittlestar Amphiura filiformi

Species biology: A keystone ecosystem engineer and important food for flatfish and crayfish. This echinoderm has exceptional adult regenerative abilities and can regenerate fully functional arms in a matter of weeks, making this species an emerging model for regeneration and stem cell biology in biomedical research. Major scientific targets include cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying regeneration with important links to neuroscience, stem cell biology and neuropeptide structure and function in the absence of a centralised nervous system.

Rationale for genome sequencing: Echinoderms have the potential to offer viable and tractable models for molecular and cellular research on stem cells and regeneration, aided by the fact that echinoderms are characterised by a simple genomic structure. Genetic information between this species is highly conserved, compared to humans, but the nature of the common molecular regulatory pathways that facilitate regeneration is still unclear. A bit effort on transcriptomics is being made, but genome information will provide key information to fully understand the process.

Key references: Dupont and Thorndyke (2006) Journal of Experimental BiologyWood et al. (2008) Proceedings of the Royal Society BBannister et al. (2005) Development Genes and EvolutionBannister et al. (2008) Development Genes and EvolutionDupont et al. (2009) Development Genes and EvolutionBurns et al. (2011) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology,  Burns et al. (2012) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Estimated Genome size: 3.0 Gbp

Available sequence information: EST database available at  
Reads in NCBI/SRA: SRS591028.

Genome sequencing progress: (last updated 2016-08-25)
Illumina libraries, bp - 200, 300, 550, 3000, 5 000-8 000
Total sequences data, Gbp - 420
Total size assembly, Gbp - 3.4
Scaffold NG50, bp - 74 200
Max scaffold size, bp - 785 350

Additional genetic resources:
Other resources: -


In culture: Not at the moment, but we are able to get them all year around and we are able to culture them and have larvae during the summer months.

Contact: Olga Ortega-Martinez -
Bioinformatician: Tomas Larsson -

AFI annotation team