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Gene expression profile in white alpaca (Vicugna pacos) skin

  • R. Fan (a1), Y. Dong (a1), J. Cao (a1), R. Bai (a1), Z. Zhu (a1), P. Li (a1), J. Zhang (a1), X. He (a1), L. Lü (a1), J. Yao (a2), M. Mondal (a3), G. W. Smith (a1) (a3) and C. Dong (a1)...


A cDNA library from white alpaca (Vicugna pacos) skin was constructed using SMART technology to investigate the global gene expression profile in alpaca skin and identify genes associated with physiology of alpaca skin and pigmentation. A total of 5359 high-quality EST (expressed sequence tag) sequences were generated by sequencing random cDNA clones from the library. Clustering analysis of sequences revealed a total of 3504 unique sequences including 739 contigs (assembled from 2594 ESTs) and 2765 singletons. BLAST analysis against GenBank nr database resulted in 1287 significant hits (E-value < 10−10), of which 863 were annotated through gene ontology analysis. Transcripts for genes related to fleece quality, growth and coat color (e.g. collagen types I and III, troponin C2 and secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine) were abundantly present in the library. Other genes, such as keratin family genes known to be involved in melanosome protein production, were also identified in the library. Members (KRT10, 14 and 15) of this gene family are evolutionarily conserved as revealed by a cross-species comparative analysis. This collection of ESTs provides a valuable resource for future research to understand the network of gene expression linked to physiology of alpaca skin and development of pigmentation.


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