Whole genome sequencing of the blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) provides a valuable genetic resource for biomedical research on tilapias.
Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) has been an economically important fish in Asian countries. It can grow and reproduce in both freshwater and brackish water conditions, whereas it is also considered as a significant invasive species around the world. This species has been widely used as the hybridization parent(s) for tilapia breeding with a major aim to produce novel strains. However, available genomic resources are still limited for this important tilapia species. Here, we for the first time sequenced and assembled a draft genome for a seawater cultured blue tilapia (0.92 Gb), with 97.8% completeness and a scaffold N50 of 1.1 Mb, which suggests a relatively high quality of this genome assembly. We also predicted 23,117 protein-coding genes in the blue tilapia genome. Comparisons of predicted antimicrobial peptides between the blue tilapia and its close relative Nile tilapia proved that these immunological genes are highly similar with a genome-wide scattering distribution. As a valuable genetic resource, our blue tilapia genome assembly will benefit for biomedical research and practical molecular breeding for high resistance to various diseases, which have been a critical problem in the aquaculture of tilapias.