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Research consortium to sequence turkey genome
Date:11/24/2008

Blacksburg, Va. An international consortium of researchers has begun an effort to sequence the genome of the domesticated turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. The genome sequence will be obtained using the Roche GS-FLX sequencing platform and the recently launched Roche GS FLX Titanium PicoTiterPlate device and reagents.

The new upgrade to the Roche GS-FLX sequencing system permits more than 1 million individual sequencing reads to be generated for each sequencing run with an average read length of 400 base pairs. The turkey genome will be assembled using shotgun fragments and short and long paired-end reads. The assembled genome will be compared with the chicken genome sequence to examine similarities and differences in genome organization.

Otto Folkerts, associate director of technology development at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech, remarked: "The pilot phase of this project will rapidly establish a two-fold shotgun coverage of the entire turkey genome using the Roche GS-FLX sequencing technology at the Core Laboratory Facility at VBI. This sequence will be of immediate interest to various stakeholders and will be the starting point for our longer-term objective to sequence more than 95 percent of the turkey genome." He added: "The funding for this pilot phase was provided by the consortium members. In 2009, we plan to seek federal and industry support for the full sequencing effort."

The turkey genome sequence will offer considerable benefits to academic and private sector researchers interested in this commercially important source of food. According to the National Turkey Federation, turkey was the fourth most popular choice of "meat protein" for consumers in the United States in 2007. An estimated 271 million turkeys will be raised in 2008.

Ed Smith, professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech, commented: "The turkey genome sequencing effort is a community-d
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Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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