CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The most detailed map ever produced of cattle genes and the first comparison map of cattle and human genomes show that many genes, and even whole chromosomes, are configured in the same way in the two species, scientists report.
"The comparative map has enormous predictive power," said lead researcher Harris Lewin, director of the W.M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics at the University of Illinois.
"For the first time, we can move from a point on the human genome to the equivalent point on the cattle genome. That will allow us to use the map of one species to identify genes controlling important traits in the other, such as those influencing lactation, reproduction and resistance to infectious diseases."
The maps appear in the September issue of the journal Genome Research by scientists at two universities after a three-year collaboration led by Lewin, a professor of animal sciences, holder of the Gutgsell Endowed Chair and director of the UI Biotechnology Center. Among the major contributors to the research were co-authors Mark R. Band, a postdoctoral research associate; Joshua H. Larson, a graduate student in the UI department of animal sciences; and James E. Womack, the W.P. Luse Endowed Professor at Texas A&M University.
A pullout poster of the comparative map is included in the journal, courtesy of AniGenics Inc., an animal genomics company, and Research Genetics, a major supplier of tools and reagents for genome research and subsidiary of Invitrogen Corp.
The research -- funded by the USDA National Research Initiative -- combined the sequencing of small segments of genes, known as expressed sequence tags, and sophisticated bioinformatics tools developed at the UI with a radiation hybrid cell panel, a unique resource for gene mapping developed by Womacks laboratory.
A total of 1,087 genetic markers were placed on the radiation hybrid map, which includes 768 known genes. About 92 percent of al
Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign