Journey to the Microcosmo – Hydra: Stretchy, Speedy, and Probably Immortal + National Academy of Science of the USA – Expansion Transposable Element Associated with Radiation Hydra

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Hydra: Stretchy, Speedy, and Probably Immortal

Published 17 sep. 2019

Journey to the Microcosmos

The Hydra of Mythology may not be as far off from Reality as you think! Let’s take a Journey to the Mall to meet our Tentacled, Regenerating fFends!

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Hydra is One of Two Creatures on Earth that looks like a Palm Tree, Another being the Dancing Palm Tree during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime Show (foto WIRED | Visuals Ublimited | Corbis))



Expansion of a Single Transposable Element Family is Associated with Genome Size Increase and Radiation in the Genus Hydra


(1) Edited by W. Ford Doolittle, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, and Approved October 8, 2019 (Received for Review July 9, 2019)


Transposable elements are one of the major contributors to genome-size differences in metazoans. Despite this, relatively little is known about the evolutionary patterns of element expansions and the element families involved. Here we report a broad genomic sampling within the genus Hydra, a freshwater cnidarian at the focal point of diverse research in regeneration, symbiosis, biogeography, and aging. We find that the genome of Hydra is the result of an expansion event involving long interspersed nuclear elements and in particular a single family of the chicken repeat 1 (CR1) class. This expansion is unique to a subgroup of the genus Hydra, the brown hydras, and is absent in the green hydra, which has a repeat landscape similar to that of other cnidarians. These features of the genome make Hydra attractive for studies of transposon-driven genome expansions and speciation.


  • Author Contributions: WYW Designed Research; W.Y.W, OS, DMB, PC, AJB, AK, TWH, CND, RES, and DEM Performed Research; WYW, OS. and DEM Analyzed Data; and WY., OS., DMB., PC. AJB., AK, TWH, CND, RES, and DEM Wrote the Paper.

  • The Authors Declare no Competing Interest.

  • Data Deposition: Sequences have been Deposited in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive Rntry for the Project (PRJNA114713). The Full Analysis pipeline is available from

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National Academy of Science of the United States of America – Expansion of a Single Tarnsposable Element Family is Associated with Genome Size Increase and Radiation in the Genus Hydra

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