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author:("reec, James M")
1.  Increasing gene discovery and coverage using RNA-seq of globin RNA reduced porcine blood samples 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):954.
Transcriptome analysis of porcine whole blood has several applications, which include deciphering genetic mechanisms for host responses to viral infection and vaccination. The abundance of alpha- and beta-globin transcripts in blood, however, impedes the ability to cost-effectively detect transcripts of low abundance. Although protocols exist for reduction of globin transcripts from human and mouse/rat blood, preliminary work demonstrated these are not useful for porcine blood Globin Reduction (GR). Our objectives were to develop a porcine specific GR protocol and to evaluate the GR effects on gene discovery and sequence read coverage in RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) experiments.
A GR protocol for porcine blood samples was developed using RNase H with antisense oligonucleotides specifically targeting porcine hemoglobin alpha (HBA) and beta (HBB) mRNAs. Whole blood samples (n = 12) collected in Tempus tubes were used for evaluating the efficacy and effects of GR on RNA-seq. The HBA and HBB mRNA transcripts comprised an average of 46.1% of the mapped reads in pre-GR samples, but those reads reduced to an average of 8.9% in post-GR samples. Differential gene expression analysis showed that the expression level of 11,046 genes were increased, whereas 34 genes, excluding HBA and HBB, showed decreased expression after GR (FDR <0.05). An additional 815 genes were detected only in post-GR samples.
Our porcine specific GR primers and protocol minimize the number of reads of globin transcripts in whole blood samples and provides increased coverage as well as accuracy and reproducibility of transcriptome analysis. Increased detection of low abundance mRNAs will ensure that studies relying on transcriptome analyses do not miss information that may be vital to the success of the study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-954) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4230834  PMID: 25374277
Pig; Blood; Globin reduction; RNA-seq; Transcriptome
2.  Identification of genomic regions associated with feed efficiency in Nelore cattle 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(1):100.
Feed efficiency is jointly determined by productivity and feed requirements, both of which are economically relevant traits in beef cattle production systems. The objective of this study was to identify genes/QTLs associated with components of feed efficiency in Nelore cattle using Illumina BovineHD BeadChip (770 k SNP) genotypes from 593 Nelore steers. The traits analyzed included: average daily gain (ADG), dry matter intake (DMI), feed-conversion ratio (FCR), feed efficiency (FE), residual feed intake (RFI), maintenance efficiency (ME), efficiency of gain (EG), partial efficiency of growth (PEG) and relative growth rate (RGR). The Bayes B analysis was completed with Gensel software parameterized to fit fewer markers than animals. Genomic windows containing all the SNP loci in each 1 Mb that accounted for more than 1.0% of genetic variance were considered as QTL region. Candidate genes within windows that explained more than 1% of genetic variance were selected by putative function based on DAVID and Gene Ontology.
Thirty-six QTL (1-Mb SNP window) were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25 and 26 (UMD 3.1). The amount of genetic variance explained by individual QTL windows for feed efficiency traits ranged from 0.5% to 9.07%. Some of these QTL minimally overlapped with previously reported feed efficiency QTL for Bos taurus. The QTL regions described in this study harbor genes with biological functions related to metabolic processes, lipid and protein metabolism, generation of energy and growth. Among the positional candidate genes selected for feed efficiency are: HRH4, ALDH7A1, APOA2, LIN7C, CXADR, ADAM12 and MAP7.
Some genomic regions and some positional candidate genes reported in this study have not been previously reported for feed efficiency traits in Bos indicus. Comparison with published results indicates that different QTLs and genes may be involved in the control of feed efficiency traits in this Nelore cattle population, as compared to Bos taurus cattle.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-014-0100-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4198703  PMID: 25257854
Bos indicus; Candidate gene; Residual feed intake; Single nucleotide polymorphisms
3.  Animal QTLdb: an improved database tool for livestock animal QTL/association data dissemination in the post-genome era 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(Database issue):D871-D879.
The Animal QTL database (QTLdb; is designed to house all publicly available QTL and single-nucleotide polymorphism/gene association data on livestock animal species. An earlier version was published in the Nucleic Acids Research Database issue in 2007. Since then, we have continued our efforts to develop new and improved database tools to allow more data types, parameters and functions. Our efforts have transformed the Animal QTLdb into a tool that actively serves the research community as a quality data repository and more importantly, a provider of easily accessible tools and functions to disseminate QTL and gene association information. The QTLdb has been heavily used by the livestock genomics community since its first public release in 2004. To date, there are 5920 cattle, 3442 chicken, 7451 pigs, 753 sheep and 88 rainbow trout data points in the database, and at least 290 publications that cite use of the database. The rapid advancement in genomic studies of cattle, chicken, pigs, sheep and other livestock animals has presented us with challenges, as well as opportunities for the QTLdb to meet the evolving needs of the research community. Here, we report our progress over the recent years and highlight new functions and services available to the general public.
PMCID: PMC3531174  PMID: 23180796
4.  Worldwide Patterns of Ancestry, Divergence, and Admixture in Domesticated Cattle 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(3):e1004254.
The domestication and development of cattle has considerably impacted human societies, but the histories of cattle breeds and populations have been poorly understood especially for African, Asian, and American breeds. Using genotypes from 43,043 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers scored in 1,543 animals, we evaluate the population structure of 134 domesticated bovid breeds. Regardless of the analytical method or sample subset, the three major groups of Asian indicine, Eurasian taurine, and African taurine were consistently observed. Patterns of geographic dispersal resulting from co-migration with humans and exportation are recognizable in phylogenetic networks. All analytical methods reveal patterns of hybridization which occurred after divergence. Using 19 breeds, we map the cline of indicine introgression into Africa. We infer that African taurine possess a large portion of wild African auroch ancestry, causing their divergence from Eurasian taurine. We detect exportation patterns in Asia and identify a cline of Eurasian taurine/indicine hybridization in Asia. We also identify the influence of species other than Bos taurus taurus and B. t. indicus in the formation of Asian breeds. We detect the pronounced influence of Shorthorn cattle in the formation of European breeds. Iberian and Italian cattle possess introgression from African taurine. American Criollo cattle originate from Iberia, and not directly from Africa with African ancestry inherited via Iberian ancestors. Indicine introgression into American cattle occurred in the Americas, and not Europe. We argue that cattle migration, movement and trading followed by admixture have been important forces in shaping modern bovine genomic variation.
Author Summary
The DNA of domesticated plants and animals contains information about how species were domesticated, exported, and bred by early farmers. Modern breeds were developed by lengthy and complex processes; however, our use of 134 breeds and new analytical models enabled us to reveal some of the processes that created modern cattle diversity. In Asia, Africa, North and South America, humpless (Bos t. taurus or taurine) and humped (Bos t. indicus or indicine) cattle were crossbred to produce hybrids adapted to the environment and local production systems. The history of Asian cattle involves the domestication and admixture of several species whereas African taurines arose through the introduction of domesticated Fertile Crescent taurines and their hybridization with wild African aurochs. African taurine genetic background is commonly observed among European Mediterranean breeds. The absence of indicine introgression within most European taurine breeds, but presence within three Italian breeds is consistent with at least two separate migration waves of cattle to Europe, one from the Middle East which captured taurines in which indicine introgression had already occurred and the second from western Africa into Spain with no indicine introgression. This second group seems to have radiated from Spain into the Mediterranean resulting in a cline of African taurine introgression into European taurines.
PMCID: PMC3967955  PMID: 24675901
5.  Genome-wide association study for intramuscular fat deposition and composition in Nellore cattle 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:39.
Meat from Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds are an important source of nutrients for humans and intramuscular fat (IMF) influences its flavor, nutritional value and impacts human health. Human consumption of fat that contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) can reduce the concentration of undesirable cholesterol (LDL) in circulating blood. Different feeding practices and genetic variation within and between breeds influences the amount of IMF and fatty acid (FA) composition in meat. However, it is difficult and costly to determine fatty acid composition, which has precluded beef cattle breeding programs from selecting for a healthier fatty acid profile. In this study, we employed a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chip to genotype 386 Nellore steers, a Bos indicus breed and, a Bayesian approach to identify genomic regions and putative candidate genes that could be involved with deposition and composition of IMF.
Twenty-three genomic regions (1-Mb SNP windows) associated with IMF deposition and FA composition that each explain ≥ 1% of the genetic variance were identified on chromosomes 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 26 and 27. Many of these regions were not previously detected in other breeds. The genes present in these regions were identified and some can help explain the genetic basis of deposition and composition of fat in cattle.
The genomic regions and genes identified contribute to a better understanding of the genetic control of fatty acid deposition and can lead to DNA-based selection strategies to improve meat quality for human consumption.
PMCID: PMC4230646  PMID: 24666668
Fatty acid; GWAS; Bos indicus; Beef; Positional candidate gene
6.  Genome-wide association and genomic prediction for host response to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection 
Host genetics has been shown to play a role in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), which is the most economically important disease in the swine industry. A region on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 4 has been previously reported to have a strong association with serum viremia and weight gain in pigs experimentally infected with the PRRS virus (PRRSV). The objective here was to identify haplotypes associated with the favorable phenotype, investigate additional genomic regions associated with host response to PRRSV, and to determine the predictive ability of genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) based on the SSC4 region and based on the rest of the genome. Phenotypic data and 60 K SNP genotypes from eight trials of ~200 pigs from different commercial crosses were used to address these objectives.
Across the eight trials, heritability estimates were 0.44 and 0.29 for viral load (VL, area under the curve of log-transformed serum viremia from 0 to 21 days post infection) and weight gain to 42 days post infection (WG), respectively. Genomic regions associated with VL were identified on chromosomes 4, X, and 1. Genomic regions associated with WG were identified on chromosomes 4, 5, and 7. Apart from the SSC4 region, the regions associated with these two traits each explained less than 3% of the genetic variance. Due to the strong linkage disequilibrium in the SSC4 region, only 19 unique haplotypes were identified across all populations, of which four were associated with the favorable phenotype. Through cross-validation, accuracies of EBV based on the SSC4 region were high (0.55), while the rest of the genome had little predictive ability across populations (0.09).
Traits associated with response to PRRSV infection in growing pigs are largely controlled by genomic regions with relatively small effects, with the exception of SSC4. Accuracies of EBV based on the SSC4 region were high compared to the rest of the genome. These results show that selection for the SSC4 region could potentially reduce the effects of PRRS in growing pigs, ultimately reducing the economic impact of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3974599  PMID: 24592976
7.  Body composition and gene expression QTL mapping in mice reveals imprinting and interaction effects 
BMC Genetics  2013;14:103.
Shifts in body composition, such as accumulation of body fat, can be a symptom of many chronic human diseases; hence, efforts have been made to investigate the genetic mechanisms that underlie body composition. For example, a few quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been discovered using genome-wide association studies, which will eventually lead to the discovery of causal mutations that are associated with tissue traits. Although some body composition QTL have been identified in mice, limited research has been focused on the imprinting and interaction effects that are involved in these traits. Previously, we found that Myostatin genotype, reciprocal cross, and sex interacted with numerous chromosomal regions to affect growth traits.
Here, we report on the identification of muscle, adipose, and morphometric phenotypic QTL (pQTL), translation and transcription QTL (tQTL) and expression QTL (eQTL) by applying a QTL model with additive, dominance, imprinting, and interaction effects. Using an F2 population of 1000 mice derived from the Myostatin-null C57BL/6 and M16i mouse lines, six imprinted pQTL were discovered on chromosomes 6, 9, 10, 11, and 18. We also identified two IGF1 and two Atp2a2 eQTL, which could be important trans-regulatory elements. pQTL, tQTL and eQTL that interacted with Myostatin, reciprocal cross, and sex were detected as well. Combining with the additive and dominance effect, these variants accounted for a large amount of phenotypic variation in this study.
Our study indicates that both imprinting and interaction effects are important components of the genetic model of body composition traits. Furthermore, the integration of eQTL and traditional QTL mapping may help to explain more phenotypic variation than either alone, thereby uncovering more molecular details of how tissue traits are regulated.
PMCID: PMC4233306  PMID: 24165562
eQTL mapping; QTL mapping; Body composition; Myostatin; Imprinting; Interaction; Mouse
8.  Genome-wide association and prediction of direct genomic breeding values for composition of fatty acids in Angus beef cattlea 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:730.
As consumers continue to request food products that have health advantages, it will be important for the livestock industry to supply a product that meet these demands. One such nutrient is fatty acids, which have been implicated as playing a role in cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the extent to which molecular markers could account for variation in fatty acid composition of skeletal muscle and identify genomic regions that harbor genetic variation.
Subsets of markers on the Illumina 54K bovine SNPchip were able to account for up to 57% of the variance observed in fatty acid composition. In addition, these markers could be used to calculate a direct genomic breeding values (DGV) for a given fatty acids with an accuracy (measured as simple correlations between DGV and phenotype) ranging from -0.06 to 0.57. Furthermore, 57 1-Mb regions were identified that were associated with at least one fatty acid with a posterior probability of inclusion greater than 0.90. 1-Mb regions on BTA19, BTA26 and BTA29, which harbored fatty acid synthase, Sterol-CoA desaturase and thyroid hormone responsive candidate genes, respectively, explained a high percentage of genetic variance in more than one fatty acid. It was also observed that the correlation between DGV for different fatty acids at a given 1-Mb window ranged from almost 1 to -1.
Further investigations are needed to identify the causal variants harbored within the identified 1-Mb windows. For the first time, Angus breeders have a tool whereby they could select for altered fatty acid composition. Furthermore, these reported results could improve our understanding of the biology of fatty acid metabolism and deposition.
PMCID: PMC3819509  PMID: 24156620
Intramuscular fat; Genome architecture; Angus
9.  The Vertebrate Trait Ontology: a controlled vocabulary for the annotation of trait data across species 
The use of ontologies to standardize biological data and facilitate comparisons among datasets has steadily grown as the complexity and amount of available data have increased. Despite the numerous ontologies available, one area currently lacking a robust ontology is the description of vertebrate traits. A trait is defined as any measurable or observable characteristic pertaining to an organism or any of its substructures. While there are several ontologies to describe entities and processes in phenotypes, diseases, and clinical measurements, one has not been developed for vertebrate traits; the Vertebrate Trait Ontology (VT) was created to fill this void.
Significant inconsistencies in trait nomenclature exist in the literature, and additional difficulties arise when trait data are compared across species. The VT is a unified trait vocabulary created to aid in the transfer of data within and between species and to facilitate investigation of the genetic basis of traits. Trait information provides a valuable link between the measurements that are used to assess the trait, the phenotypes related to the traits, and the diseases associated with one or more phenotypes. Because multiple clinical and morphological measurements are often used to assess a single trait, and a single measurement can be used to assess multiple physiological processes, providing investigators with standardized annotations for trait data will allow them to investigate connections among these data types.
The annotation of genomic data with ontology terms provides unique opportunities for data mining and analysis. Links between data in disparate databases can be identified and explored, a strategy that is particularly useful for cross-species comparisons or in situations involving inconsistent terminology. The VT provides a common basis for the description of traits in multiple vertebrate species. It is being used in the Rat Genome Database and Animal QTL Database for annotation of QTL data for rat, cattle, chicken, swine, sheep, and rainbow trout, and in the Mouse Phenome Database to annotate strain characterization data. In these databases, data are also cross-referenced to applicable terms from other ontologies, providing additional avenues for data mining and analysis. The ontology is available at
PMCID: PMC3851175  PMID: 23937709
Quantitative trait loci; Gene association; Trait ontology
10.  Structural and functional annotation of the porcine immunome 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:332.
The domestic pig is known as an excellent model for human immunology and the two species share many pathogens. Susceptibility to infectious disease is one of the major constraints on swine performance, yet the structure and function of genes comprising the pig immunome are not well-characterized. The completion of the pig genome provides the opportunity to annotate the pig immunome, and compare and contrast pig and human immune systems.
The Immune Response Annotation Group (IRAG) used computational curation and manual annotation of the swine genome assembly 10.2 (Sscrofa10.2) to refine the currently available automated annotation of 1,369 immunity-related genes through sequence-based comparison to genes in other species. Within these genes, we annotated 3,472 transcripts. Annotation provided evidence for gene expansions in several immune response families, and identified artiodactyl-specific expansions in the cathelicidin and type 1 Interferon families. We found gene duplications for 18 genes, including 13 immune response genes and five non-immune response genes discovered in the annotation process. Manual annotation provided evidence for many new alternative splice variants and 8 gene duplications. Over 1,100 transcripts without porcine sequence evidence were detected using cross-species annotation. We used a functional approach to discover and accurately annotate porcine immune response genes. A co-expression clustering analysis of transcriptomic data from selected experimental infections or immune stimulations of blood, macrophages or lymph nodes identified a large cluster of genes that exhibited a correlated positive response upon infection across multiple pathogens or immune stimuli. Interestingly, this gene cluster (cluster 4) is enriched for known general human immune response genes, yet contains many un-annotated porcine genes. A phylogenetic analysis of the encoded proteins of cluster 4 genes showed that 15% exhibited an accelerated evolution as compared to 4.1% across the entire genome.
This extensive annotation dramatically extends the genome-based knowledge of the molecular genetics and structure of a major portion of the porcine immunome. Our complementary functional approach using co-expression during immune response has provided new putative immune response annotation for over 500 porcine genes. Our phylogenetic analysis of this core immunome cluster confirms rapid evolutionary change in this set of genes, and that, as in other species, such genes are important components of the pig’s adaptation to pathogen challenge over evolutionary time. These comprehensive and integrated analyses increase the value of the porcine genome sequence and provide important tools for global analyses and data-mining of the porcine immune response.
PMCID: PMC3658956  PMID: 23676093
Immune response; Porcine; Genome annotation; Co-expression network; Phylogenetic analysis; Accelerated evolution
11.  Pig immune response to general stimulus and to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection: a meta-analysis approach 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:220.
The availability of gene expression data that corresponds to pig immune response challenges provides compelling material for the understanding of the host immune system. Meta-analysis offers the opportunity to confirm and expand our knowledge by combining and studying at one time a vast set of independent studies creating large datasets with increased statistical power. In this study, we performed two meta-analyses of porcine transcriptomic data: i) scrutinized the global immune response to different challenges, and ii) determined the specific response to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) infection. To gain an in-depth knowledge of the pig response to PRRSV infection, we used an original approach comparing and eliminating the common genes from both meta-analyses in order to identify genes and pathways specifically involved in the PRRSV immune response. The software Pointillist was used to cope with the highly disparate data, circumventing the biases generated by the specific responses linked to single studies. Next, we used the Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) software to survey the canonical pathways, biological functions and transcription factors found to be significantly involved in the pig immune response. We used 779 chips corresponding to 29 datasets for the pig global immune response and 279 chips obtained from 6 datasets for the pig response to PRRSV infection, respectively.
The pig global immune response analysis showed interconnected canonical pathways involved in the regulation of translation and mitochondrial energy metabolism. Biological functions revealed in this meta-analysis were centred around translation regulation, which included protein synthesis, RNA-post transcriptional gene expression and cellular growth and proliferation. Furthermore, the oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondria dysfunctions, associated with stress signalling, were highly regulated. Transcription factors such as MYCN, MYC and NFE2L2 were found in this analysis to be potentially involved in the regulation of the immune response.
The host specific response to PRRSV infection engendered the activation of well-defined canonical pathways in response to pathogen challenge such as TREM1, toll-like receptor and hyper-cytokinemia/ hyper-chemokinemia signalling. Furthermore, this analysis brought forth the central role of the crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune response and the regulation of anti-inflammatory response. The most significant transcription factor potentially involved in this analysis was HMGB1, which is required for the innate recognition of viral nucleic acids. Other transcription factors like interferon regulatory factors IRF1, IRF3, IRF5 and IRF8 were also involved in the pig specific response to PRRSV infection.
This work reveals key genes, canonical pathways and biological functions involved in the pig global immune response to diverse challenges, including PRRSV infection. The powerful statistical approach led us to consolidate previous findings as well as to gain new insights into the pig immune response either to common stimuli or specifically to PRRSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3623894  PMID: 23552196
Meta-analysis; Microarrays; Pig immune response; PRRSV infection
12.  Genome-wide association study of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis in Angus cattle 
BMC Genetics  2013;14:23.
Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) in beef cattle, commonly known as pinkeye, is a bacterial disease caused by Moraxellabovis. IBK is characterized by excessive tearing and ulceration of the cornea. Perforation of the cornea may also occur in severe cases. IBK is considered the most important ocular disease in cattle production, due to the decreased growth performance of infected individuals and its subsequent economic effects. IBK is an economically important, lowly heritable categorical disease trait. Mass selection of unaffected animals has not been successful at reducing disease incidence. Genome-wide studies can determine chromosomal regions associated with IBK susceptibility. The objective of the study was to detect single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with genetic variants associated with IBK in American Angus cattle.
The proportion of phenotypic variance explained by markers was 0.06 in the whole genome analysis of IBK incidence classified as two, three or nine categories. Whole-genome analysis using any categorisation of (two, three or nine) IBK scores showed that locations on chromosomes 2, 12, 13 and 21 were associated with IBK disease. The genomic locations on chromosomes 13 and 21 overlap with QTLs associated with Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, clinical mastitis or somatic cell count.
Results of these genome-wide analyses indicated that if the underlying genetic factors confer not only IBK susceptibility but also IBK severity, treating IBK phenotypes as a two-categorical trait can cause information loss in the genome-wide analysis. These results help our overall understanding of the genetics of IBK and have the potential to provide information for future use in breeding schemes.
PMCID: PMC3673868  PMID: 23530766
Keratoconjunctivitis; Pinkeye; BayesB; Threshold model; Genome-wide analysis
13.  Analyses of pig genomes provide insight into porcine demography and evolution 
Groenen, Martien A. M. | Archibald, Alan L. | Uenishi, Hirohide | Tuggle, Christopher K. | Takeuchi, Yasuhiro | Rothschild, Max F. | Rogel-Gaillard, Claire | Park, Chankyu | Milan, Denis | Megens, Hendrik-Jan | Li, Shengting | Larkin, Denis M. | Kim, Heebal | Frantz, Laurent A. F. | Caccamo, Mario | Ahn, Hyeonju | Aken, Bronwen L. | Anselmo, Anna | Anthon, Christian | Auvil, Loretta | Badaoui, Bouabid | Beattie, Craig W. | Bendixen, Christian | Berman, Daniel | Blecha, Frank | Blomberg, Jonas | Bolund, Lars | Bosse, Mirte | Botti, Sara | Bujie, Zhan | Bystrom, Megan | Capitanu, Boris | Silva, Denise Carvalho | Chardon, Patrick | Chen, Celine | Cheng, Ryan | Choi, Sang-Haeng | Chow, William | Clark, Richard C. | Clee, Christopher | Crooijmans, Richard P. M. A. | Dawson, Harry D. | Dehais, Patrice | De Sapio, Fioravante | Dibbits, Bert | Drou, Nizar | Du, Zhi-Qiang | Eversole, Kellye | Fadista, João | Fairley, Susan | Faraut, Thomas | Faulkner, Geoffrey J. | Fowler, Katie E. | Fredholm, Merete | Fritz, Eric | Gilbert, James G. R. | Giuffra, Elisabetta | Gorodkin, Jan | Griffin, Darren K. | Harrow, Jennifer L. | Hayward, Alexander | Howe, Kerstin | Hu, Zhi-Liang | Humphray, Sean J. | Hunt, Toby | Hornshøj, Henrik | Jeon, Jin-Tae | Jern, Patric | Jones, Matthew | Jurka, Jerzy | Kanamori, Hiroyuki | Kapetanovic, Ronan | Kim, Jaebum | Kim, Jae-Hwan | Kim, Kyu-Won | Kim, Tae-Hun | Larson, Greger | Lee, Kyooyeol | Lee, Kyung-Tai | Leggett, Richard | Lewin, Harris A. | Li, Yingrui | Liu, Wansheng | Loveland, Jane E. | Lu, Yao | Lunney, Joan K. | Ma, Jian | Madsen, Ole | Mann, Katherine | Matthews, Lucy | McLaren, Stuart | Morozumi, Takeya | Murtaugh, Michael P. | Narayan, Jitendra | Nguyen, Dinh Truong | Ni, Peixiang | Oh, Song-Jung | Onteru, Suneel | Panitz, Frank | Park, Eung-Woo | Park, Hong-Seog | Pascal, Geraldine | Paudel, Yogesh | Perez-Enciso, Miguel | Ramirez-Gonzalez, Ricardo | Reecy, James M. | Zas, Sandra Rodriguez | Rohrer, Gary A. | Rund, Lauretta | Sang, Yongming | Schachtschneider, Kyle | Schraiber, Joshua G. | Schwartz, John | Scobie, Linda | Scott, Carol | Searle, Stephen | Servin, Bertrand | Southey, Bruce R. | Sperber, Goran | Stadler, Peter | Sweedler, Jonathan V. | Tafer, Hakim | Thomsen, Bo | Wali, Rashmi | Wang, Jian | Wang, Jun | White, Simon | Xu, Xun | Yerle, Martine | Zhang, Guojie | Zhang, Jianguo | Zhang, Jie | Zhao, Shuhong | Rogers, Jane | Churcher, Carol | Schook, Lawrence B.
Nature  2012;491(7424):393-398.
For 10,000 years pigs and humans have shared a close and complex relationship. From domestication to modern breeding practices, humans have shaped the genomes of domestic pigs. Here we present the assembly and analysis of the genome sequence of a female domestic Duroc pig (Sus scrofa) and a comparison with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Wild pigs emerged in South East Asia and subsequently spread across Eurasia. Our results reveal a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars ~1 million years ago, and a selective sweep analysis indicates selection on genes involved in RNA processing and regulation. Genes associated with immune response and olfaction exhibit fast evolution. Pigs have the largest repertoire of functional olfactory receptor genes, reflecting the importance of smell in this scavenging animal. The pig genome sequence provides an important resource for further improvements of this important livestock species, and our identification of many putative disease-causing variants extends the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.
PMCID: PMC3566564  PMID: 23151582
14.  AnimalQTLdb: a livestock QTL database tool set for positional QTL information mining and beyond 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;35(Database issue):D604-D609.
The Animal Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) database (AnimalQTLdb) is designed to house all publicly available QTL data on livestock animal species from which researchers can easily locate and compare QTL within species. The database tools are also added to link the QTL data to other types of genomic information, such as radiation hybrid (RH) maps, finger printed contig (FPC) physical maps, linkage maps and comparative maps to the human genome, etc. Currently, this database contains data on 1287 pig, 630 cattle and 657 chicken QTL, which are dynamically linked to respective RH, FPC and human comparative maps. We plan to apply the tool to other animal species, and add more structural genome information for alignment, in an attempt to aid comparative structural genome studies ().
PMCID: PMC1781224  PMID: 17135205
15.  Prediction of Altered 3′- UTR miRNA-Binding Sites from RNA-Seq Data: The Swine Leukocyte Antigen Complex (SLA) as a Model Region 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48607.
The SLA (swine leukocyte antigen, MHC: SLA) genes are the most important determinants of immune, infectious disease and vaccine response in pigs; several genetic associations with immunity and swine production traits have been reported. However, most of the current knowledge on SLA is limited to gene coding regions. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small molecules that post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of a large number of protein-coding genes in metazoans, and are suggested to play important roles in fine-tuning immune mechanisms and disease responses. Polymorphisms in either miRNAs or their gene targets may have a significant impact on gene expression by abolishing, weakening or creating miRNA target sites, possibly leading to phenotypic variation. We explored the impact of variants in the 3′-UTR miRNA target sites of genes within the whole SLA region. The combined predictions by TargetScan, PACMIT and TargetSpy, based on different biological parameters, empowered the identification of miRNA target sites and the discovery of polymorphic miRNA target sites (poly-miRTSs). Predictions for three SLA genes characterized by a different range of sequence variation provided proof of principle for the analysis of poly-miRTSs from a total of 144 M RNA-Seq reads collected from different porcine tissues. Twenty-four novel SNPs were predicted to affect miRNA-binding sites in 19 genes of the SLA region. Seven of these genes (SLA-1, SLA-6, SLA-DQA, SLA-DQB1, SLA-DOA, SLA-DOB and TAP1) are linked to antigen processing and presentation functions, which is reminiscent of associations with disease traits reported for altered miRNA binding to MHC genes in humans. An inverse correlation in expression levels was demonstrated between miRNAs and co-expressed SLA targets by exploiting a published dataset (RNA-Seq and small RNA-Seq) of three porcine tissues. Our results support the resource value of RNA-Seq collections to identify SNPs that may lead to altered miRNA regulation patterns.
PMCID: PMC3490867  PMID: 23139801
16.  Use of Genome Sequence Information for Meat Quality Trait QTL Mining for Causal Genes and Mutations on Pig Chromosome 17 
The newly available pig genome sequence has provided new information to fine map quantitative trait loci (QTL) in order to eventually identify causal variants. With targeted genomic sequencing efforts, we were able to obtain high quality BAC sequences that cover a region on pig chromosome 17 where a number of meat quality QTL have been previously discovered. Sequences from 70 BAC clones were assembled to form an 8-Mbp contig. Subsequently, we successfully mapped five previously identified QTL, three for meat color and two for lactate related traits, to the contig. With an additional 25 genetic markers that were identified by sequence comparison, we were able to carry out further linkage disequilibrium analysis to narrow down the genomic locations of these QTL, which allowed identification of the chromosomal regions that likely contain the causative variants. This research has provided one practical approach to combine genetic and molecular information for QTL mining.
PMCID: PMC3268380  PMID: 22303339
meat quality QTL; pig chromosome 17; integrated analysis
17.  Whole genome analysis of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis in Angus cattle using Bayesian threshold models 
BMC Proceedings  2011;5(Suppl 4):S22.
Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), also known as pinkeye, is characterized by damage to the cornea and is an economically important, lowly heritable, categorical disease trait in beef cattle. Scores of eye damage were collected at weaning on 858 Angus cattle. SNP genotypes for each animal were obtained from BovineSNP50 Infinium-beadchips. Simultaneous associations of all SNP with IBK phenotype were determined using Bayes-C that treats SNP effects as random with equal variance for an assumed fraction (π=0.999) of SNP having no effect on IBK scores. Bayes-C threshold models were used to estimate SNP effects by classifying IBK into two, three or nine ordered categories. Magnitudes of genetic variances estimated in localized regions across the genome indicated that SNP within the most informative regions accounted for much of the genetic variance of IBK and pointed out some degree of association to IBK. There are many candidate genes in these regions which could include a gene or group of genes associated with bacterial disease in cattle.
PMCID: PMC3108217  PMID: 21645302
18.  Probing genetic control of swine responses to PRRSV infection: current progress of the PRRS host genetics consortium 
BMC Proceedings  2011;5(Suppl 4):S30.
Understanding the role of host genetics in resistance to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection, and the effects of PRRS on pig health and related growth, are goals of the PRRS Host Genetics Consortium (PHGC).
The project uses a nursery pig model to assess pig resistance/susceptibility to primary PRRSV infection. To date, 6 groups of 200 crossbred pigs from high health farms were donated by commercial sources. After acclimation, the pigs were infected with PRRSV in a biosecure facility and followed for 42 days post infection (dpi). Blood samples were collected at 0, 4, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42 dpi for serum and whole blood RNA gene expression analyses; weekly weights were recorded for growth traits. All data have been entered into the PHGC relational database. Genomic DNAs from all PHGC1-6 pigs were prepared and genotyped with the Porcine SNP60 SNPchip.
Results have affirmed that all challenged pigs become PRRSV infected with peak viremia being observed between 4-21 dpi. Multivariate statistical analyses of viral load and weight data have identified PHGC pigs in different virus/weight categories. Sera are now being compared for factors involved in recovery from infection, including speed of response and levels of immune cytokines. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are underway to identify genes and chromosomal locations that identify PRRS resistant/susceptible pigs and pigs able to maintain growth while infected with PRRSV.
Overall, the PHGC project will enable researchers to discover and verify important genotypes and phenotypes that predict resistance/susceptibility to PRRSV infection. The availability of PHGC samples provides a unique opportunity to continue to develop deeper phenotypes on every PRRSV infected pig.
PMCID: PMC3108226  PMID: 21645311
19.  TACE release of TNF-α mediates mechanotransduction-induced activation of p38 MAPK and myogenesis 
Journal of cell science  2007;120(Pt 4):692-701.
Skeletal muscle responds to mechanical stimulation by activating p38 MAPK, a key signal for myogenesis. However, the mechanotransduction mechanism that activates p38 is unknown. Here we show that mechanical stimulation of myoblasts activates p38 and myogenesis through stimulating TNF-α release by TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE). In C2C12 or mouse primary myoblasts cultured in growth medium, static stretch activated p38 along with ERK1/2, JNK and AKT. Disrupting TNF-α signaling by TNF-α-neutralizing antibody or knocking out TNF-α receptors blocked stretch activation of p38, but not ERK1/2, JNK or AKT. Stretch also activated differentiation markers MEF2C, myogenin, p21 and myosin heavy chain in a TNF-α- and p38-dependent manner. Stretch stimulated the cleavage activity of TACE. Conversely, TACE inhibitor TAPI or TACE siRNA abolished stretch activation of p38. In addition, conditioned medium from stretched myoblast cultures activated p38 in unstretched myoblasts, which required TACE activity in the donor myoblasts, and TNF-α receptors in the recipient myoblasts. These results indicate that posttranscriptional activation of TACE mediates the mechanotransduction that activates p38-dependent myogenesis via the release of TNF-α.
PMCID: PMC3099537  PMID: 17264149
Stretch; Myogenesis; p38 MAPK; TACE; TNF-α
20.  Overload-Induced Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix Remodeling And Myofiber Growth in Mice Lacking IL-6 
Acta physiologica (Oxford, England)  2009;197(4):321-332.
Overloading healthy skeletal muscle produces myofiber hypertrophy and extracellular matrix remodeling, and these processes are thought to be interdependent for producing muscle growth. Inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene expression is induced in overloaded skeletal muscle, and the loss of this IL-6 induction can attenuate the hypertrophic response to overload. Although the overload induction of IL-6 in skeletal muscle may be an important regulator of inflammatory processes and satellite cell proliferation, less is known about its role in the regulation of extracellular matrix remodeling. The purpose of the current study was to examine if overload-induced extracellular matrix remodeling, muscle growth, and associated gene expression were altered in mice that lack IL-6, when compared to wild-type mice.
Male C57/BL6 (WT) and C57/BL6 × IL-6-/- (IL-6-/-) mice (10 wks of age) were assigned to either a sham control or synergist ablation overload (OV) treatments for 3 or 21 days.
Plantaris muscle mass increased 59% in WT and 116% in IL-6-/- mice after 21d OV. Myofiber CSA was also increased by 21d OV in both WT and IL-6-/- mice. Overload induced a 2-fold greater increase in the volume of non-contractile tissue in IL-6-/- muscle as compared to WT. Overload also induced a significantly greater accumulation of hydroxyproline and procollagen-1 mRNA in IL-6-/- muscle, when compared to WT muscle after 21d OV. TGF-β and IGF-1 mRNA expression were also induced to a greater extent in IL-6-/- muscle when compared to WT muscle after 21d OV. There was no effect of IL-6 loss on the induction of myogenin, and cyclin D1 mRNA expression after 3d OV. However, MyoD mRNA expression in 3d OV IL-6-/- muscle was attenuated when compared to WT overload mice.
IL-6 appears to be necessary for the normal regulation of extracellular matrix remodeling during overload-induced growth.
PMCID: PMC3044433  PMID: 19681796
functional overload; extracellular matrix; inflammation; transforming growth factor beta
21.  Development and Application of Bovine and Porcine Oligonucleotide Arrays with Protein-Based Annotation 
The design of oligonucleotide sequences for the detection of gene expression in species with disparate volumes of genome and EST sequence information has been broadly studied. However, a congruous strategy has yet to emerge to allow the design of sensitive and specific gene expression detection probes. This study explores the use of a phylogenomic approach to align transcribed sequences to vertebrate protein sequences for the detection of gene families to design genomewide 70-mer oligonucleotide probe sequences for bovine and porcine. The bovine array contains 23,580 probes that target the transcripts of 16,341 genes, about 72% of the total number of bovine genes. The porcine array contains 19,980 probes targeting 15,204 genes, about 76% of the genes in the Ensembl annotation of the pig genome. An initial experiment using the bovine array demonstrates the specificity and sensitivity of the array.
PMCID: PMC3010673  PMID: 21197395
22.  Myostatin genotype regulates muscle-specific miRNA expression in mouse pectoralis muscle 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:297.
Loss of functional Myostatin results in a dramatic increase in skeletal muscle mass. It is unknown what role miRNAs play in Myostatin mediated repression of skeletal muscle mass. We hypothesized that Myostatin genotype would be associated with the differential expression of miRNAs in skeletal muscle.
Loss of functional Myostatin resulted in a significant increase (p < .001) in miR-1, miR-133a, miR-133b, and miR-206 expression. In contrast, Myostatin genotype had no effect (P > .2) on miR-24 expression level. Myostatin genotype did not affect the expression level of MyoD or Myogenin (P > 0.5).
Myostatin may regulates the expression of miRNAs such as miR-133a, miR-133b, miR-1, and miR-206 in skeletal muscle as it has been observed that the expression of those miRNAs are significantly higher in myostatin null mice compared to wild type and heterozygous mice. In contrast, expression of myogenic factors such as MyoD or Myogenin has not been affected by myostatin in the muscle tissue.
PMCID: PMC2992544  PMID: 21070642
24.  Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells from Animals I. Basic Cell Biology 
Skeletal muscle stem cells from food-producing animals are of interest to agricultural life scientists seeking to develop a better understanding of the molecular regulation of lean tissue (skeletal muscle protein hypertrophy) and intramuscular fat (marbling) development. Enhanced understanding of muscle stem cell biology and function is essential for developing technologies and strategies to augment the metabolic efficiency and muscle hypertrophy of growing animals potentially leading to greater efficiency and reduced environmental impacts of animal production, while concomitantly improving product uniformity and consumer acceptance and enjoyment of muscle foods.
PMCID: PMC2935669  PMID: 20827399
Skeletal muscle stem cells; Satellite cells; Adipocytes; Adipofibroblasts; Embryogenesis; Postnatal myogenesis.
25.  Lipid metabolism, adipocyte depot physiology and utilization of meat animals as experimental models for metabolic research 
Meat animals are unique as experimental models for both lipid metabolism and adipocyte studies because of their direct economic value for animal production. This paper discusses the principles that regulate adipogenesis in major meat animals (beef cattle, dairy cattle, and pigs), the definition of adipose depot-specific regulation of lipid metabolism or adipogenesis, and introduces the potential value of these animals as models for metabolic research including mammary biology and the ontogeny of fatty livers.
PMCID: PMC2990072  PMID: 21103072
Meat animals; lipid metabolism; adipose depots; adipocytes; adipogenesis

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