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Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Danish Committee of Pig Breeding and Production (DCPBP) jointly announce the public release of pig genomic sequences. The released sequence data include 3.84 million pieces of the genomes of five different domestic pig breeds from Europe and China. The data are generated from the first large scale pig genome sequencing effort, the Sino-Danish Pig Genome Project, started in 2001 on the basis of a long standing collaboration of scientists and research institutions from China and Denmark.

An open access research article from the Sino-Danish Pig Genome Project can be found at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/6/70 and the genome sequence data are immediately accessible from the NCBI Trace Repository (Center name: "SDJVP"; Project name: "Sino-Danish Pig Genome Project") and GenBank, a public DNA sequence database of the US National Institutes of Health.

In addition to the genome survey, 100 libraries of expressed sequences from different pig tissues and developmental stages have been analyzed. These sequences will be released in the near future together with a publication on pig gene expression.

This far, the pig sequence data have been obtained thanks to an investment of app. 10 million US$ by CAS and DCPBP together with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Natural Science Foundation of China.

The research indicates that pig is genetically closer to man than normally used laboratory animals. This has important implications for the use of pigs in medical research and drug testing. Thus, the availability of the pig sequence data will allow other public and private researchers to identify many important aspects relating to biomedical research as well as to production, food safety and animal health traits that will greatly benefit health care, industry and consumers.

The Sino-Danish Pig Genome Project has been one of the best examples of i nternational scientific collaboration, which puts its emphasis on issues of wider importance. The endeavour will be incorporated into the next stage of the pig genome project in which a draft sequence map of 6 fold genome coverage will be produced. This effort will be coordinated by the international Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium (SGSC) led by scientists from USA and UK. A simultaneous announcement will also be made by SGSC and the Alliance for Animal Genome Research (AAGR) in support of this public release.

DCTBP represents the world leading Danish pig breeders and global exporters of pig products. Denmark, with a population of only 5.4 million people, produces app. 25 million pigs per year.

BGI is a leading genomics research institution in the promotion of genomics in agricultural research. In the past 5 years, in addition to its contribution to the international Human Genome and HapMap Projects, BGI has sequenced the genomes of rice, chicken, silkworm, and many microorganisms of importance for agriculture, environment, and infectious diseases. BGI will continue its efforts in pig genome research through its support to and participation in SGSC.


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