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Vision for international animal genomes project published

Roslin Institute scientists are contributing to the leadership of the international Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) project.

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March 2015

The FAANG Consortium have published their vision for this project as an Open Letter in Genome Biology today.

The launching of the FAANG project is an important milestone for the international animal genetics and genomics research community. Whilst draft genome sequences have been published for the major farmed and companion animals and several important fish species, our understanding of the functional sequences within these genomes is limited.

Although most of the sequences which encode proteins (protein-coding genes) in the species have been identified, very little is known about non-coding and regulatory sequences. These regulatory sequences control the expression of genes and consequently are key elements in determining phenotypic traits.

Much of the value in biological research lies in predicting outcomes whether it is the efficacy of a drug, the consequences of ageing, susceptibility to infectious disease or the performance of the daughters of an elite dairy bull. Identifying and understanding the functional elements, especially regulatory sequences, is critical to the development of better predictive biological models. The aim of the FAANG project is to identify the functional sequences in animal genomes, especially for farmed and companion animals, to improve the functional annotation of animal genomes in order to improve the accuracy of predicting phenotypes from genotypes (sequence).