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      Rapid reconstruction of reference chromosome-level mammalian genome assemblies and insight into the mechanisms of gross genomic rearrangement - BBSRC


      Science Impact, Ltd.

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          We live in an era in which the genomes of new species are being sequenced all the time. The most modern ways to sequence DNA have many advantages over older approaches (the prominent one being a vastly reduced cost) but a problem that arises each time the genome of a new species is sequenced is that assigning large blocks of sequence to an overall genomic "map" can be problematic and/or very expensive. It's a little like finding your location on Google Maps but not being able to "zoom out" to establish where that position is in relation to the whole country. In essence the initial aim of our research is to rectify this problem a much-reduced cost. Using our experience with birds we have developed a high-throughput approach and the tools for assigning the sequences to their proper positions in chromosomes. This involves our own adaptations to a technique called "FISH" that can take the data from sequenced genomes and visualise directly blocks of DNA sequence as they appear in their rightful place in the genome. We are now focusing our attention on newly sequenced mammal species and seeking to develop a universal approach for birds and mammals. Mammals and birds are important to our lives in that many are models for human disease and development and are critical to agriculture (meat, milk and eggs). Others are threatened or endangered and, with impending global warming, molecular tools for the study of their ecology and conservation are essential. Our combined efforts have also developed computer-based browser methods to compare the overall structure of one genome with another, directly visualising the similarities and differences between the genomes of several animals at a time, something we share widely amongst the scientific community and general public via the world wide web. The differences between genomes arose through changes that happened during evolution. One of the main aims of our work is to find out how this occurred and what are implications of these changes. We have a number of ideas such as we think there may be different "signatures" that classify why blocks of genes tend to stay together during evolution. Indeed, our most recent work has determined the overall likely genome structure of extinct dinosaurs. Our work has led to the development of a series of devices that have been adapted for the screening of individual animals for genomic rearrangements that may cause breeding problems. Moreover, the resources we develop provide a source for public information and student learning. Out work extends beyond genomes to detection of genetic traits in human and non-human IVF embryos. In humans, these can be used to treat families as risk of transmitting genetic disorders. In pigs and cattle for introducing favourable production traits and disseminating genetics in a high-welfare, biosecure and environmentally-friendly manner.

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          Science Impact, Ltd.
          November 26 2018
          November 26 2018
          : 2018
          : 8
          : 18-20
          © 2018

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering


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