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Brief Funct Genomic Proteomic. 2004 Apr;3(1):60-7.

Chicken genomics charts a path to the genome sequence.

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  • 1Department of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Roslin Institute (Edinburgh), Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PS, UK.


In this paper, the current status of chicken genomics is reviewed. This is timely given the current intense activity centred on sequencing the complete genome of this model species. The genome project is based on a decade of map building by genetic linkage and cytogenetic methods, which are now being replaced by high-resolution radiation hybrid and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) contig maps. Markers for map building have generally depended on labour-intensive screening procedures, but in recent years this has changed with the availability of almost 500,000 chicken expressed sequence tags (ESTs). These resources and tools will be critical in the coming months when the chicken genome sequence is being assembled (eg cross-checked with other maps) and annotated (eg gene structures based on ESTs). The future for chicken genome and biological research is an exciting one, through the integration of these resources. For example, through the proposed chicken Ensembl database, it will be possible to solve challenging scientific questions by exploiting the power of a chicken model. One area of interest is the study of developmental mechanisms and the discovery of regulatory networks throughout the genome. Another is the study of the molecular nature of quantitative genetic variation. No other animal species have been phenotyped and selected so intensively as agricultural animals and thus there is much to be learned in basic and medical biology from this research.

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