Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pig Genomes Provide Massive Amount of Genomic Data for Human Health

ScienceDaily (Nov. 14, 2012) — The availability of a reference genome for a species is extremely important in the deeper understanding of its biology and evolution, and today marks the publication of two studies involving researchers from the BGI on the whole-genome sequencing, analysis and production of high quality reference genomes for the pig in the journals Nature and GigaScience (a BGI and BioMed Central journal).

The Nature study from the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium presents the reference genome of a breed of pig that is an economically important food source, and the GigaScience study, led by researchers from the BGI, Beijing Institute of Animal Science (IAS) and Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science (CAAS), focuses on a miniature pig used for medical research.

The Nature study includes the additional genomes of a number of European and Asian wild and domesticated swine species, and also released today is a series of accompanying articles covering pig genome structure and function, genome annotation, and findings of biomedical relevance in a number of BioMed Central journals.

Pigs are one of the oldest domesticated livestock species, and as well as providing one of the largest sources of meat worldwide, also provide important medical industrial resources, such as pharmaceutical-grade heparin and heart valves for xenotrans plantation. The pig shares many of the same complex genetic diseases as humans, making them excellent models for studying the underlying biology of human disease.

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