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Functional genomics in chicken (Gallus gallus) - status and implications in poultry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2014

Project Directorate on Poultry (ICAR), Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Project Directorate on Poultry (ICAR), Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Project Directorate on Poultry (ICAR), Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Project Directorate on Poultry (ICAR), Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Project Directorate on Poultry (ICAR), Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
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Chickens (Gallus gallus) were the first avian species selected for whole genome sequencing because of their economic value, use as a food source, livelihood security and research importance. Any living organism contains a galaxy of genes which express all the phenotypes or characters by encoding proteins and peptides, and playing regulatory roles in the biological system. Functional genomics in turn, is a multidisciplinary approach to identify and demonstrate the functional roles of genes and other regulatory molecules such as microRNA and CpG methylation in biological pathways. In the last two decades, the chicken genome database has made significant advancements in accruing large amounts of genomic information through employing advanced bio-informatic tools. Several techniques such as cDNA microarray, serial analysis of gene expression, massively parallel signature sequencing, cDNA subtractive hybridisation and next generation sequencing have been utilised to investigate the genome-wide expression profile instead of revealing expression pattern of one or a few genes in various avian species. Expressed sequence tag or cDNA sequences are the key factors for identification of novel genes and understanding the complex molecular cascades of ontology. A large-scale cDNA library has been constructed from embryonic and adult tissues and consequently identified the presence of about 19,000 functional genes in chickens. The micro RNAs play crucial role in gene expression and to date, approximately 496 micro RNAs have been characterised. The non-coding RNA alters gene expression involved in cellular process, by modulating the chromatin architecture, transcription, RNA splicing, editing, translation and turnover. Functional genomics studies have been extensively used to identify genes associated with several production traits, immuno-genetic mechanism, host-pathogen interaction, pathogen biology etc. Nutrigenomics have determined the genomic mechanism involved in feed utilisation, metabolism and cholesterol synthesis etc., which ultimately reveal potential applications for improving the nutritional efficiency of birds. This review discusses the tools and utility of functional genomics approaches in chicken.

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Copyright © World's Poultry Science Association 2014 

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