International consortium to create sequence-ready map of the cattle genome

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. An international consortium of U.S., Canadian and French scientists has begun work on a new resource that will enable the rapid and efficient sequencing of the entire cattle genome.

When the $2.5 million project is done by early 2003, scientists will have new tools to genetically improve dairy and beef cattle, to enhance food safety and to protect the cattle industry against bioterrorism.

Coordinating the project are Harris Lewin, a professor of animal sciences and director of the W.M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Steve Kappes of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service USDA-ARS in Clay Center, Neb.

The effort to create a sequence-ready map is being done by scientists of the UI, USDA-ARS, Childrens Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Maryland.

Scientists will create a sequence-ready bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) map and anchor it to the human genome map by reference points called comparatively-anchored sequence tagged sites, or CASTS. Constructing the map will proceed in three phases.

First, all 280,000 clones of a BAC library produced by Pieter de Jongs laboratory at CHORI will be fingerprinted by Marco Marras group at BCCA. Second, sequencing of the ends of at least 100,000 fingerprinted BAC-clones will be done by Lewins team and by Shaying Zhao at TIGR. The sequence-ready BAC map will be created by merging the BAC fingerprints with the BAC-end sequence data. The entire ordered array of cattle BAC clones, called contigs, will be scaffolded on to specific cattle chromosomes using COMPASS, a bioinformatics tool created at the UI.

The assignment of contigs to cattle chromosomes will be based on a whole-genome cattle-human comparative gene map created by Lewins group in collaboration with James Womacks Texas A&M Un

Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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