BACKGROUND: Cross-species comparison of transcriptomes is important for elucidating evolutionary molecular mechanisms underpinning phenotypic variation between and within species, yet to date it has been essentially limited to model organisms with relatively small sample sizes.
RESULTS: Here, we systematically analyze and compare 10,830 and 4866 publicly available RNA-seq samples in humans and cattle, respectively, representing 20 common tissues. Focusing on 17,315 orthologous genes, we demonstrate that mean/median gene expression, inter-individual variation of expression, expression quantitative trait loci, and gene co-expression networks are generally conserved between humans and cattle. By examining large-scale genome-wide association studies for 46 human traits (average n = 327,973) and 45 cattle traits (average n = 24,635), we reveal that the heritability of complex traits in both species is significantly more enriched in transcriptionally conserved than diverged genes across tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, our study provides a comprehensive comparison of transcriptomes between humans and cattle, which might help decipher the genetic and evolutionary basis of complex traits in both species.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Author(s).
- Comparative transcriptome
- Gene co-expression
- Heritability enrichment
- Inter-individual variability