David Pollock (University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA) opened the meeting by detailing the many ways in which a broad understanding of snake genomics can contribute to a wide diversity of research efforts in applied and theoretical biology. Todd Castoe (University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA) updated the group on the progress of sequencing the genome of the Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus). As part of this project, Castoe showed data demonstrating how extensive changes in gene expression accompany the extreme physiological remodeling of the python when fed a large meal after being fasted. Christiaan Henkel (ZF-screens BV and Leiden University, NL) updated the group on the status of the King Cobra genome (Ophiophagus hannah), including analyses of the copy number of genes encoding toxic venom proteins. Henkel also discussed analyses he and colleagues have done on a lower-coverage draft sequence of the genome of the blindsnake (Typhlops murius). Matt Giorgianni (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA) discussed plans to sequence the genome of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) in order to study the evolution of venom-related genes. Adam Hargreaves (Bangor University, UK) discussed research on snake development and pigmentation, and the generation of draft genome sequences of Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) and Saw-scaled Viper (Echis coloratus) as well as transcriptomic resources for these and other species. Jason Dobry (Amplicon Express, USA) discussed methods for utilizing the custom-made PMB-Python molurus bacterial artificial chromosome library for studying specific sets of genes, as well as assisting in the whole genome assembly. Edward Braun (University of Florida, USA) addressed the potential for including reptilian genomics in science pedagogy. In addition to examples of successes of the concept, Braun presented the group with the open question of whether genome annotation could be accomplished through pedagogical interactions with undergraduate classes.
There is little published information on the structure and function of snake genomes, although data shown by contributors at this meeting provided an exciting window into the apparently dynamic structure of snake genomes. Matthew Fujita (Harvard University, USA) discussed the evolution of genomic nucleotide content and isochore structure in vertebrates, and showed new data on isochore structure in snakes. Todd Castoe (University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA) showed data describing the evolution genomic repeat element landscapes in snakes, including evidence of a shift in transposable element activity within snakes. Ken Yokoyama (University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA) presented an overview of cis-regulatory element characteristics in vertebrates, and evidence for the relative uniqueness of features of snake cis-regulatory elements based on analyses of the python. Denis O'Meally (University of Canberra, AUS) discussed the evolution of sex chromosomes in reptiles, highlighting the insights into sex-specific regulation and dosage compensation that the independently evolved sex chromosomes of snakes can provide. Jason de Koning (University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA) discussed methods for analyzing protein-coding genes to detect positive selection indicative of adaptation, including pitfalls of existing approaches and suggestions for alternatives that are planned for analysis of the python genome.