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Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics. 2009 Sep;4(3):154-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cbd.2009.01.004. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

Sampling the skin transcriptome of the North Atlantic right whale.

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  • 1Graduate Program of Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 205 Fort Johnson Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, USA.


As an initial step in defining the transcriptome of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and developing functional genomic tools to study right whale health at the molecular physiological level, a cDNA library has been constructed from a skin biopsy. 2496 randomly selected clones (expressed sequence tags, ESTs) have been sequenced, and genes identified as important in the response to stress and immune challenges have been cloned by targeted RT-PCR from skin cDNA. The analysis of the EST collection (archived at and GenBank) showed a 34.79% redundancy, yielding 1578 unigenes and 27 potential microsatellite markers. 96 genes were cloned by targeted PCR; moreover, 52 of these genes are stress and immune function related. A Gene Ontology analysis of the unigene collection indicates that the skin is a rich source of expressed genes with diverse functions, suggesting an important role in multiple physiological processes including those related to immunity and stress response.

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