Going Whole Hog: BAC Map Expedites Swine Genome
Sequence By Laura
McGinnis January 4, 2007
Genome research is going to the hogsand humans stand to benefit.
A $10 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant is enabling members of the
Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium, an
international coalition of researchers, to develop a draft sequence of the
Rohrer, an animal geneticist at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., is leading the ARS swine
genome research efforts with help from ARS molecular biologist
Nonneman at Clay Center. The grant is from USDA's
Cooperative State Research, Education and
The sequencing project has many potential benefits, including improved
pork production efficiency, industry growth and reduced risk of swine disease.
The pig genome will be the first mammalian genome to have a complete
physical (bacterial artificial chromosome, or BAC) map before being sequenced.
Previous genome sequencing efforts for other organisms have used a
"whole-genome shotgun" approach to assemble approximately 30 million sequencing
segments, similar to assembling a 30-million-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Before receiving the sequencing grant, the consortium had already
identified more than 267,000 markers on the BAC map, allowing the researchers
to proceed in a more orderly fashion because they already knew where most of
the segments belonged. The task will now be more like assembling 25,000 puzzles
with 1,200 pieces each.
Other consortium members include the University of Illinois, the Alliance for Animal
Genomics in Bethesda, Md., the Wellcome
Trust Sanger Institute in England, Scotland's
Roslin Institute, the
Korean Livestock Institute, the
Beijing Genome Institute
and France's National Institute for Agricultural
more about this research in the January 2007 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.