Blueprints for Healthy Animals
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Prediction of genes and regulatory elements in farm animal genomes

We are improving the quality of reference genomes and creating atlases for transcriptomes and epigenomes across developmental stages and diverse cell and tissue types.

Following on from the human genome, the major farm animal genomes were sequenced in the early 2000s, with The Roslin Institute playing a key role.  However, since then farm animal genomes have received less attention than the human genome.  We are aiming to address this knowledge gap by investigating the expression, function and regulation of genes in farm animals. 

Organisms carry the same genetic information in every cell, but different gene expression patterns give rise to different cell types and tissues. Understanding these gene expression patterns will help us to interpret the impact of genetic variation on farmed animal populations and provides the raw material to select for traits associated with improved performance.  

Much of our current research in this area is set in the context of the international Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) initiative.

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Research Highlights

Examples of previous and current work in this area:

A high quality reference genome for pigs

The Roslin Institute jointly led efforts to produce the first complete DNA sequence for pigs and produced the first atlas of gene expression in multiple tissues.

A high quality reference genome for sheep

BioLayout / Meru graph representation of gene expression across all sheep tissues
We jointly led the sequencing and analysis of the sheep genome by the International Sheep Genomics Consortium and defined how sheep separated from goats as a distinct species.

Hugely improved annotation of the chicken genome

Complexity of individual full length transcripts at a single locus/gene in the chicken
We have used the latest long read sequencing technologies to reveal the complexity of the transcriptomes in chicken embryos and brain.

Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes

A project to establish high quality functional annotation of animal genomes.