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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Control of Ovine Respiratory Disease through Genetic and Immunologic Mitigation of Pathogen Transmission and Disease

Location: Animal Diseases Research

Title: The sheep genome illuminates biology of the rumen and lipid metabolism

item Jiang, Yu -
item Xie, Min -
item Chen, Wenbin -
item Talbot, Richard -
item Maddox, Jillian -
item Faraut, Thomas -
item Wu, Chunhua -
item Muzny, Donna -
item Li, Yuxiang -
item Zhang, Wenguang -
item Stanton, Jo-Ann -
item Brauning, Rudiger -
item Barris, Wesley -
item Hourlier, Thibaut -
item Aken, Bronwen -
item Searle, Stephen -
item Adelson, David -
item Bian, Chao -
item Cam, Graham -
item Chen, Yulin -
item Chen, Shifeng -
item Desilva, Udaya -
item Dixen, Karen -
item Dong, Yang -
item Fan, Guangyi -
item Franklin, Ian -
item Fu, Shaoyin -
item Fuentes-Utrilla, Pablo -
item Guan, Rui -
item Highland, Margaret
item Holder, Michael -
item Huang, Guodong -
item Ingham, Aaron -
item Jhangiani, Shalini -
item Kalra, Divya -
item Kovar, Christie -
item Lee, Sandra -
item Liu, Weiqing -
item Liu, Xin -
item Lu, Changxin -
item Lv, Tian -
item Mathew, Tittu -
item Mcwilliam, Sean -
item Menzies, Moira -
item Pan, Shengkai -
item Robelin, David -
item Servin, Bertrand -
item Townley, David -
item Wang, Wenliang -
item Wei, Bin -
item White, Stephen
item Yang, Xinhua -
item Ye, Chen -
item Yue, Yaojing -
item Zeng, Peng -
item Zhou, Qing -
item Hansen, Jacob -
item Kristensen, Karsten -
item Gibbs, Richard -
item Flicek, Paul -
item Warkup, Christopher -
item Jones, Huw -
item Oddy, Hutton -
item Nicholas, Frank -
item Mcewan, John -
item Kijas, James -
item Wang, Jun -
item Worley, Kim -
item Archibald, Alan -
item Cockett, Noelle -
item Xun, Xu -
item Wang, Wen -
item Dalrymple, Brian -

Submitted to: Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 7, 2014
Publication Date: June 6, 2014
Citation: Jiang, Y., Xie, M., Chen, W., Talbot, R., Maddox, J.F., Faraut, T., Wu, C., Muzny, D.M., Li, Y., Zhang, W., Stanton, J., Brauning, R., Barris, W.C., Hourlier, T., Aken, B., Searle, S.M., Adelson, D.L., Bian, C., Cam, G.R., Chen, Y., Chen, S., Desilva, U., Dixen, K., Dong, Y., Fan, G., Franklin, I.R., Fu, S., Fuentes-Utrilla, P., Guan, R., Highland, M.A., Holder, M., Huang, G., Ingham, A.B., Jhangiani, S.N., Kalra, D., Kovar, C.L., Lee, S.L., Liu, W., Liu, X., Lu, C., Lv, T., Mathew, T., Mcwilliam, S., Menzies, M., Pan, S., Robelin, D., Servin, B., Townley, D., Wang, W., Wei, B., White, S.N., Yang, X., Ye, C., Yue, Y., Zeng, P., Zhou, Q., Hansen, J.B., Kristensen, K., Gibbs, R., Flicek, P., Warkup, C.C., Jones, H.E., Oddy, H., Nicholas, F.W., Mcewan, J.C., Kijas, J., Wang, J., Worley, K., Archibald, A.L., Cockett, N., Xun, X., Wang, W., Dalrymple, B.P. 2014. The sheep genome illuminates biology of the rumen and lipid metabolism. Science. 344(6188):1168-1173.

Interpretive Summary: Since their domestication about 11,000 years ago sheep have been a source of meat, milk and wool. Sheep are especially good at efficiently converting low value plant forage/feed into high value animal protein. To investigate the biological basis of their special characteristics, we have completed a high quality reference genome of domestic sheep and a detailed survey of gene expression across 40 tissues. We have identified two new groups of highly expressed genes associated with the evolution of the rumen, the specialized stomach that houses the microbes responsible for initial digestion of feed. We have also identified amplified gene number and/or altered tissue expression patterns of a number of genes involved in fat metabolism. This provides evidence to explain 1) the increased role of fatty acids in ruminants compared to animals with only one stomach, 2) unique properties of skin barrier fats in sheep relative to other animals, and 3) the interactions between fat metabolism and hair/wool synthesis.

Technical Abstract: Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk, and fiber in the form of wool and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, that carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high-quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants compared with nonruminant animals.

Last Modified: 8/27/2016
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