The sheep genome illuminates biology of the rumen and lipid metabolism

Yu Jiang, Min Xie, Wenbin Chen, Richard Talbot, Jillian F. Maddox, Thomas Faraut, Chunhua Wu, Donna M. Muzny, Yuxiang Li, Wenguang Zhang, Jo Ann Stanton, Rudiger Brauning, Wesley C. Barris, Thibaut Hourlier, Bronwen L. Aken, Stephen M.J. Searle, David L. Adelson, Chao Bian, Graham R. Cam, Yulin ChenShifeng Cheng, Udaya DeSilva, Karen Dixen, Yang Dong, Guangyi Fan, Ian R. Franklin, Shaoyin Fu, Pablo Fuentes-Utrilla, Rui Guan, Margaret A. Highland, Michael E. Holder, Guodong Huang, Aaron B. Ingham, Shalini N. Jhangiani, Divya Kalra, Christie L. Kovar, Sandra L. Lee, Weiqing Liu, Xin Liu, Changxin Lu, Tian Lv, Tittu Mathew, Sean McWilliam, Moira Menzies, Shengkai Pan, David Robelin, Bertrand Servin, David Townley, Wenliang Wang, Bin Wei, Stephen N. White, Xinhua Yang, Chen Ye, Yaojing Yue, Peng Zeng, Qing Zhou, Jacob B. Hansen, Karsten Kristiansen, Richard A. Gibbs, Paul Flicek, Christopher C. Warkup, Huw E. Jones, V. Hutton Oddy, Frank W. Nicholas, John C. McEwan, James W. Kijas, Jun Wang, Kim C. Worley*, Alan L. Archibald, Noelle Cockett, Xun Xu, Wen Wang, Brian P. Dalrymple

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReport/ Case Reportpeer-review

335 Citations (Scopus)


Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk, and fiber in the form of wool and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, that carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high-quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants compared with nonruminant animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1168-1173
Number of pages6
Issue number6188
Publication statusPrint publication - 6 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


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