The first chicken genome map was completed

Professor Xu Luohao’s research group of Southwest University took the lead in drawing the first whole genome map of domestic chickens in the world using China’s unique domestic chicken strain bearded chicken as the material. On February 13, the relevant research results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States with the title of “Evolutionary Analysis of the Completed Map of the Chicken Genome”. This is the first vertebrate genome completion map published since the publication of the human genome completion map last year, and it is also the first application of genome completion mapping technology in economic animals.

Photo courtesy of the bearded chicken research group

The chicken genome GGswu1 contains 10 “point chromosomes” Photo courtesy of the research group

In recent years, China’s broiler breeder independent breeding has made continuous breakthroughs, but due to late start, insufficient accumulation of germplasm resources, etc., it is still relatively backward compared with developed countries in Europe and the United States. The development of molecular breeding technology is expected to accelerate the breeding process of broiler chickens, but the whole genome map of domestic chickens it relies on is still incomplete. The mapping of the completion map of the chicken genome is an important basis for precise molecular design and breeding, and it is one of the problems closely overcome by domestic and foreign counterparts, which is of great significance to the promotion of broiler genetic breeding and the realization of broiler seed industry curve overtaking.

The project lasted two and a half years, and the team members collected samples of the family line of Huiyang bearded chickens, used long-read sequencing technology to complete the whole genome mapping of a hen, and identified the six chromosomes missing from the original genome assembly. Based on this, the researchers drew a panorama of the evolution of chordate chromosomes and reconstructed 45 vertebrate ancestral chromosomes. At the same time, the origin, sequence structure and diversity of domestic chicken centromeres were clarified. In addition, the research group carefully described the epigenetic characteristics of the W sex chromosome.

Through this project, the research group achieved the first complete mapping of the whole genome of economic animals in the world. This achievement provides a new understanding for understanding vertebrate genome evolution and chromosome biology, and provides an important foundation for the genetic breeding of domestic chickens, which is of great scientific significance.

It is reported that the Great Science Center for Germplasm Creation in Western (Chongqing) Science City and the Key Laboratory of Freshwater Fish Resources and Reproductive Development of the Ministry of Education (Southwest University) are the first signatories. Professor Xu Luohao of Southwest University and Professor Chang Guobin of Yangzhou University are the corresponding authors of this paper, Huang Zhen, associate professor of Fujian Normal University, Dr. Xu Zaoxu of Southwest University, and Bai Hao, associate researcher of Yangzhou University, are co-first authors. (Source: Wen Caifei, China Science News)

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