Röseler W. et al.
Nematodes such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus are extremely successful model organisms for comparative biology. Several studies have shown that phenotypic novelty but also conserved processes are controlled by taxon-restricted genes. To trace back the evolution of such new or rapidly evolving genes, a robust phylogenomic framework is indispensable. Here, we present an improved version of the genome of Parapristionchus giblindavisi which is the only known member of the sister group of Pristionchus. Relative to the previous short read assembly, the new genome is based on long reads and displays higher levels of contiguity, completeness, and correctness. Specifically, the number of contigs dropped from over 7303 to 735 resulting in an N50 increase from 112 kb to 791 kb. We made use of the new genome to revisit the evolution of multiple gene families. This revealed Pristionchus-specific expansions of several environmentally responsive gene families and a Pristionchus-specific loss of the de novo purine biosynthesis pathway. Focusing on the evolution of sulfatases and sulfotransferases, which control the mouth form plasticity in P. pacificus, reveals differences in copy number and genomic configurations between the genera Pristionchus and Parapristionchus. Altogether, this demonstrates the utility of the P. giblindavisi genome to date and polarize lineage-specific patterns.