The sequencing of the bovine genome commenced in December 2003 and sequencing is planned to achieve a seven-fold coverage by November 2005. This along with previous physical mapping efforts will allow a high quality genomic assembly to be produced. The sequencing is being undertaken by Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Separately, the Michael Smith Genome Science Centre in Vancouver will sequence 10,000 full length non-redundant bovine mRNAs. The assembled genome will be annotated in collaboration with the Ensembl project at the Sanger Institute, UK, and will be publicly available on genome browsers such as NCBI, Ensembl and UCSC. In the interim the raw sequence information is being made available at NCBI within days of being generated. As well as providing DNA sequence, the program will identify more than 50,000 microsatellites and one to two million SNPs. The availability of this information will transform and accelerate ruminant genomics research. Similar genome sequencing efforts in human and laboratory species have greatly increased the rate of gene variant discovery underlying quantitative trait loci. It will also aid our understanding of gene expression control. New Zealand stands to benefit directly from this work, because of its strong reliance on grazing livestock for export income and its internationally competitive beef and dairy industries. The project is funded by an international consortium involving CSIRO Australia, Genome Canada, New Zealand, National Human Genome Research Institute of the U.S. national Institutes of Health (NHGRI), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the State of Texas, The Kleberg Foundation, U.S. Beef Council, and Texas and South Dakota Beef Councils. Significantly, the National Institutes of Health have strongly supported the project as a consequence of its human health implications. This project benefited greatly from a previous international genomic collaboration to physically map the bovine genome, and it provides an excellent example of benefits obtained from international research consortia co-investing in public domain infrastructural projects.

JC, McEwan, and AM Crawford

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 64, Hamilton, 86-91, 2004
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