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Animal Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

Ovine (Sheep) Genome Effort

NIFA-supported work will provide a road map of the ovine genome for future “value capture” studies to improve animal health and production. A memorandum of understanding is established among AgResearch (New Zealand), the National Meat and Livestock Board (Australia), the USDA Agricultural Research Service Meat Animal Research Center (Nebraska), and the NIFA-supported NRSP-8 Sheep Coordinator, designating funding for construction of a 10-fold redundant Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) library. The copy of the library received by Utah State University will be screened upon request and positive clones returned to the investigators.

In addition, arrayed filters have been purchased and will be distributed to researchers investigating traits in sheep. Clones from the BAC library will be used to develop a fingerprint map suitable for whole genome and targeted sequencing.

NRSP-8 Sheep Coordinator funds also contributed to the development of an ovine radiation hybrid (RH) panel in a collaborative project between Utah State University and Texas A&M University. Ninety clones with retention frequencies between 15 percent and 40 percent have been selected for inclusion in the 5,000 rad RH panel. Large DNA preparations have been made for the 90 clones, and the panel is ready for distribution.

An online, real-time comparative database being developed at Texas A&M University will be used for Web-based transmission of mapping data on the distributed ovine RH panels. Database displays will include ovine RH maps of each chromosome and cross-referenced to homologous human and bovine chromosome segments, with lines between orthologous markers indicating internal rearrangements.

Using funds from a NIFA National Research Initiative (NRI) grant, this panel will be typed at Utah State University with 500 microsatellites. The resulting framework map will be oriented with respect to the multiple ovine linkage maps that exist. About 500 Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) with known human and bovine map locations will be typed on the panel and added to the RH map. The framework map containing the microsatellites provides the scaffolding for orienting these ESTs to the ovine linkage maps. The resulting comprehensive map can then be linked to the expression maps of other species.

Contact: Noelle Cockett, Utah State University.


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