Functional Annotation of Equine Genome (FAANG)

In partnership with Dr. Jessica Peterson, and Dr. Rebecca Bellone, our lab is involved in the Functional Annotation of the ANimal Genome (FAANG) project, which aims to identify functional regulatory elements in animal genomes in both sexes and across multiple stages of development. For the horse, a biobank of tissues and cells was created including 86 tissues and three cell types from two adult mares. Both mares were deemed healthy after undergoing clinical evaluations including full physical examinations, lameness, ophthalmologic and neurologic evaluations and complete blood counts, and serum biochemistries were performed.

Last year, we reported on the creation of this biobank to be used by the equine community in the functional annotation of the genome in accordance with FAANG Consortium guidelines. Since the Plant & Animal Genome conference in January of 2017, the FAANG biobank was used in the generation of 7 different datasets.  In collaboration with the equine genetics community, reduced representation bisulfite sequencing, microbiome sequencing, and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing have been conducted. As a larger collaborative effort, 15 other laboratories have identified a tissue of interest to support for the initial RNA-seq effort. This extensive biobank will be used to create a tissue-specific atlas of gene expression and regulation in the horse. Data are publicly available and linked to the phenotype information within the FAANG database. Analysis of the RNA-seq data is ongoing to determine specific signatures of each tissue type.