The Green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, is the first reptilian genome to be sequenced. The Reptilia is an ancient group that diverged from the evolutionary line that led to mammals more than 300 million years ago. Surviving members of the reptilia occur in three groups: the Archosauria (crocodilians and birds), whose most recent common ancestor lived ~ 250mya; the lepidosauria, which contains the squamata (lizards and snakes) and the tuatara (lizard-like reptile found only in New Zeland); and turtles. A number of reptile lineages serve as important models for developmental biology, neurobiology, physiology, endocrinology and behavior. Furthermore, the availability of a reptilian genome sequence will play an important role in understanding the evolution of mammalian genomes as an important branch of the evolutionary tree of vertebrates.
The Broad Institute has generated a high quality (6.5X) draft sequence from a female North American green anole lizard with origin in South Carolina. As the first reptile genome sequenced, the anole genome is taxonomically far from other sequence and annotated genomes and very few ESTs or cDNA are available for this species. Therefore as part of the genome project, a number of EST sequences were produced for an initial gene annotation. Illumina-based RNA-seq to improve the Anolis annotation is currently underway.