Advances in domestic animal genomics

Marek Świtoński

Abstract


Until now genome of six domestic/farm animal species have been sequenced: cattle, horse, chicken, dog, cat and honeybee. Also marker genome maps of these, as well as other species (pig, sheep, goat etc) are well developed. Knowledge on genome organization brings an opportunity for effective searching for gene mutations causing phenotypic variation, including production traits and genetic diseases. The genome scanning, coupled with comparative genomics approach, facilitated identification of gene mutations influencing significantly on fattening, carcass, reproduction and milk traits in cattle, pig, sheep and goats. Recently, application of the expression microarrays were also applied in studies on candidate genes for carcass traits in cattle and pig. Spreading of gene mutations causing hereditary diseases is an important issue in animal breeding. Presently, over 150 mutations are characterized on DNA level in cattle, pig, sheep, horse, cat and dog. Interestingly, over 40% of them were described in dogs. It is mainly an effect of the fact that over 50% of the canine genetic diseases have clinical and molecular counterpart in human. Therefore, this species has became an interesting model in biomedical research, including gene therapy. It is foreseen that in the near future functional genomics as well as epigenomics will bring new insights into molecular background of phenotype variability of domestic animals.

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