Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Turkey genome sequenced more than 90 percent, including sex chromosomes 'Z' and 'W'

Date:
September 8, 2010
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
More than 90 percent of the domesticated turkey genome has been sequenced and assembled. Thousands of genes previously unknown to avian scientists have been described. Also of interest are the sequences of the sex chromosomes "Z" and "W," which were poorly covered in the past.

Turkeys.
Credit: iStockphoto/Brent Paull

An international consortium of researchers has completed the majority of the genome sequence of the domesticated turkey, thanks in part to the efforts of Virginia Tech faculty members.

The research team reports the results in the journal PLoS Biology, published by the Public Library of Science.

"To date, more than 90 percent of the domesticated turkey genome has been sequenced and assembled," said Rami Dalloul, assistant professor of animal and poultry sciences in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The majority of data are derived from the 10 largest chromosomes, called macrochromosomes, and researchers in the consortium are still searching for the best route to sequence the remaining microchromosomes. "We have already described thousands of genes previously unknown to avian scientists," Dalloul said.

Also of interest are the sequences of the sex chromosomes "Z" and "W," which were poorly covered in the past.

In 2008, the research consortium set out to map the genetic blueprint for the domesticated turkey, the fourth-most popular choice of meat in the United States. The following year, Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota received a two-year, $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to complete the genome sequence, which promises new data for avian researchers and, ultimately, a better quality product for turkey producers and consumers.

"In the short term, the genome sequence will provide scientists with knowledge of specific genes that are important in meat yield and quality, health and disease resistance, fertility, and reproduction," Dalloul said. "For example, we don't always know the mechanism for how host-pathogen interactions work. The genome sequence will allow us to better understand this process, which will in turn give us a better understanding of disease prevention and treatment."

According to Dalloul, the genome sequence will have long-term benefits for turkey producers as well. "Poultry producers may be able to use the knowledge we gain from the genome sequence to grow turkeys faster and healthier, and if they can produce the same size bird in a shorter period of time, they can also save money," he said. An improved understanding of genetic variation in this species and in breeding populations will also lead to development of new tools that producers can use to breed turkeys that have desirable texture, flavor, and leanness, which will directly impact consumer products.

In addition, the genome sequence may have applications in the biomedical field. Ed Smith, professor of animal and poultry sciences at Virginia Tech, is investigating an avian condition similar to dilated cardiomyopathy in humans. Other consortium members -- Roger Coulombe at Utah State University and Kent Reed at the University of Minnesota -- are studying the effects that aflatoxins have on turkeys. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring carcinogenic chemicals produced by fungi that suppress the immune system. The domesticated turkey is the most aflatoxin-susceptible species known.

Clive Evans, director of the Core Laboratory Facility at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI), said, "The availability of the Roche GS-FLX™ Titanium sequencing technology at VBI allowed the turkey research consortium to quickly and efficiently establish an early draft of the turkey genome." This draft was extended in 2009 with data from the Illumina sequencing platform at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and assembled by scientists at the University of Maryland to produce the current genome assembly. The use of these next-generation sequencing technologies provided the turkey genome sequence assembly at a fraction of the cost of producing the red junglefowl genome assembly (the same species as the domesticated chicken) in 2004.

The international consortium spent the last year annotating and analyzing the draft genome sequence, which culminated in "fleshing out the intricacies of the turkey's genetic blueprint as described in detail in the PLoS Biology paper," Evans said. The research team hopes the integrated approach used to obtain the turkey genome will provide a model for creating gene- and chromosome-level assemblies for other species with agricultural, ecological, or evolutionary importance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dalloul RA, Long JA, Zimin AV, Aslam L, Beal K, et al. Multi-Platform Next-Generation Sequencing of the Domestic Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo): Genome Assembly and Analysis. PLoS Biology, 2010; 8(9): e1000475 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000475

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Turkey genome sequenced more than 90 percent, including sex chromosomes 'Z' and 'W'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100907171636.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2010, September 8). Turkey genome sequenced more than 90 percent, including sex chromosomes 'Z' and 'W'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100907171636.htm
Virginia Tech. "Turkey genome sequenced more than 90 percent, including sex chromosomes 'Z' and 'W'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100907171636.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins