Science2014-06-09 6:55 PM

深入其毛之下并进入其基因 The sheep genome illuminates biology of the rumen and lipid metabolism

论文摘要 

绵羊属于被人最早驯化的某些牲畜中的成员,人们驯养它们是为了得到其肉、奶及羊毛。这些动物具有一种独特的消化器官——瘤胃,后者能将植物性材料转化为一种蛋白质来源;瘤胃也出现在其它反刍动物体内,其中包括骆驼、羊及牛。除了营养之外,这些瘤胃会产生一种不寻常的脂肪酸,该脂肪酸可能与羊毛的合成有关。

为了探索绵羊不寻常演化特征的基因基础,Yu Jiang及其同事组装了特克塞尔羊的参考基因组序列;该羊是一个原先来自荷兰的品种。

为了厘清在绵羊与其它哺乳动物中的基于基因差异的演化关系,研究人员构建了一个分别比较绵羊、山羊、牛、牦牛、猪、马及其他物种的系统发育树。他们说,绵羊与山羊和其它反刍类是在数百万年前分开的,那时是新第三纪晚期。

Jiang等人还在绵羊中发现了先前未被认识的基因,包括那些帮助支持维护羊毛所需的油脂分泌的基因。与它们在其它动物中的同源物相比,他们发现了在如瘤胃等不同组织中表达的基因。研究人员提出,这些基因在瘤胃的演化过程中获得了新的功能。

Jiang及其同事的工作凸显了与反刍动物中饮食、消化系统及代谢间相互作用有关的主要的基因组识别标志。由于绵羊是一种重要的农业动物物种,这一工作的结果将为这种动物的未来研究提供关键性的资源。

Abstract 

Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk, and fiber in the form of wool and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, that carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high-quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants compared with nonruminant animals.

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