Bovine Genome Assembled|
International Effort Makes Data Freely Available to Scientists Worldwide
Bethesda, Maryland – The first draft of the
bovine genome sequence has been deposited into free public databases
for use by biomedical and agricultural researchers around the globe,
leaders of the Bovine Genome Sequencing Project announced today.
Contributors to the $53 million international effort to sequence
the genome of the cow (Bos taurus) include: the National Human Genome
Research Institute (NHGRI), which is part of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH); the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural
Research Service and Cooperative State Research, Education, and
Extension Service; the state of Texas; Genome Canada through Genome
British Columbia, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organization of Australia; Agritech Investments Ltd., Dairy Insight,
Inc. and AgResearch Ltd., all of New Zealand; the Kleberg Foundation;
and the National, Texas and South Dakota Beef Check-off Funds.
A team led by Richard Gibbs, Ph.D., at Baylor College of Medicine’s
Human Genome Sequencing Center in Houston carried out the sequencing
and assembly of the genome. Additional work aimed at uncovering
more detailed information about individual bovine genes
a process referred to as full-length cDNA sequencing is
being conducted by a team led by Marco Marra, Ph.D., at the British
Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver.
The initial assembly is based on 3.3-fold coverage of the bovine
genome. Researchers can access the sequence data through the following
public databases: GenBank (www.ncbi.nih.gov/Genbank)
at NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI),
EMBL Bank (www.ebi.ac.uk/embl/index.html)
at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s Nucleotide
Sequence Database and the DNA Data Bank of Japan (www.ddbj.nigh.ac.jp).
The data will also be viewable through NCBI’s Map Viewer (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mapview/),
UCSC Genome Browser (www.genome.ucsc.edu/)
at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Ensembl Genome
Browser (www.ensembl.org) at
the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England.
Researchers are continuing sequencing and plan to have a 6-fold
draft of the bovine genome completed sometime in the first half
of 2005. They are also comparing the bovine genome sequence with
those of the human and other organisms that have already been sequenced.
Results of these analyses will begin to be published in the public
databases in the next several months.
The bovine genome is similar in size to the genomes of humans
and other mammals, containing approximately 3 billion DNA base pairs.
In addition to helping medical researchers learn more about the
human genome and thereby develop better ways of treating and preventing
disease, the bovine genome sequence will serve as a tool for agricultural
researchers striving to improve health and disease management of
cattle and enhance the nutritional value of beef and dairy products.
Sequencing of the bovine genome began in December 2003. The breed
of cattle selected for the bulk of the sequencing project was Hereford,
which is used in beef production. A high-resolution photo of the
Hereford cow, named L1 Dominette 01449, whose DNA was sequenced
is available at: http://www.genome.gov/12512900.
Sequencing at lighter coverage will be carried out in additional
cattle breeds, including the Holstein, Angus, Jersey, Limousin,
Norwegian Red and Brahman. The competed Bovine Genome Sequencing
Project will allow detailed tracking of the DNA differences between
these breeds to assist discovery of traits for better meat and milk
production and to model human disease.
To learn more about the rapidly expanding field of comparative
genomic analysis, go to: www.genome.gov/10005835.
To read the white paper that outlines the scientific rational and
strategy for sequencing the bovine genome, go to: www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/Sequencing/SeqProposals/BovineSEQ.pdf.
NHGRI is one of 27 institutes and centers at NIH, an agency of
the Department of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI Division
of Extramural Research supports grants for research and for training
and career development at sites nationwide. Information about NHGRI
can be found at: www.genome.gov.