The Plant Cell ( 2022)
Five versions of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii reference genome have been produced over the last two decades. Here we present version 6, bringing significant advances in assembly quality and structural annotations. PacBio-based chromosome-level assemblies for two laboratory strains, CC-503 and CC-4532, provide resources for the plus and minus mating type alleles. We corrected major misassemblies in previous versions and validated our assemblies via linkage analyses. Contiguity increased over ten-fold and >80% of filled gaps are within genes. We used Iso-Seq and deep RNA-seq datasets to improve structural annotations, and updated gene symbols and textual annotation of functionally characterized genes via extensive manual curation. We discovered that the cell wall-less classical reference strain CC-503 exhibits genomic instability potentially caused by deletion of the helicase RECQ3, with major structural mutations identified that affect >100 genes. We therefore present the CC-4532 assembly as the primary reference, although this strain also carries unique structural mutations and is experiencing rapid proliferation of a Gypsy retrotransposon. We expect all laboratory strains to harbor gene-disrupting mutations, which should be considered when interpreting and comparing experimental results. Collectively, the resources presented here herald a new era of Chlamydomonas genomics and will provide the foundation for continued research in this important reference organism.