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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2009;126(1-2):63-76. doi: 10.1159/000245907. Epub 2009 Dec 9.

Molecular cytogenetics and gene mapping in sheep (Ovis aries, 2n = 54).

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1
Forschungsbereich Molekularbiologie, Forschungsinstitut für die Biologie landwirtschaftlicher Nutztiere (FBN), Dummerstorf, Germany. tomgoldammer @ fbn-dummerstorf.de

Abstract

The development of a completely annotated sheep genome sequence is a key need for understanding the phylogenetic relationships and genetic diversity among the many different sheep breeds worldwide and for identifying genes controlling economically and physiologically important traits. The ovine genome sequence assembly will be crucial for developing optimized breeding programs based on highly productive, healthy sheep phenotypes that are adapted to modern breeding and production conditions. Scientists and breeders around the globe have been contributing to this goal by generating genomic and cDNA libraries, performing genome-wide and trait-associated analyses of polymorphism, expression analysis, genome sequencing, and by developing virtual and physical comparative maps. The International Sheep Genomics Consortium (ISGC), an informal network of sheep genomics researchers, is playing a major role in coordinating many of these activities. In addition to serving as an essential tool for monitoring chromosome abnormalities in specific sheep populations, ovine molecular cytogenetics provides physical anchors which link and order genome regions, such as sequence contigs, genes and polymorphic DNA markers to ovine chromosomes. Likewise, molecular cytogenetics can contribute to the process of defining evolutionary breakpoints between related species. The selective expansion of the sheep cytogenetic map, using loci to connect maps and identify chromosome bands, can substantially contribute to improving the quality of the annotated sheep genome sequence and will also accelerate its assembly. Furthermore, identifying major morphological chromosome anomalies and micro-rearrangements, such as gene duplications or deletions, that might occur between different sheep breeds and other Ovis species will also be important to understand the diversity of sheep chromosome structure and its implications for cross-breeding. To date, 566 loci have been assigned to specific chromosome regions in sheep and the new cytogenetic map is presented as part of this review. This review will also summarize the current cytogenomic status of the sheep genome, describe current activities in the sheep cytogenomics research sector, and will discuss the cytogenomics data in context with other major sheep genomics projects.

PMID:
20016157
DOI:
10.1159/000245907
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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