Next-generation sequencing strategies for characterizing the turkey genome 1

Rami A. Dalloul, Aleksey V. Zimin, Robert E. Settlage, Sungwon Kim, Kent M. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The turkey genome sequencing project was initiated in 2008 and has relied primarily on nextgeneration sequencing (NGS) technologies. Our first efforts used a synergistic combination of 2 NGS platforms (Roche/454 and Illumina GAII), detailed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) maps, and unique assembly tools to sequence and assemble the genome of the domesticated turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. Since the first release in 2010, efforts to improve the genome assembly, gene annotation, and genomic analyses continue. The initial assembly build (2.01) represented about 89% of the genome sequence with 17X coverage depth (931 Mb). Sequence contigs were assigned to 30 of the 40 chromosomes with approximately 10% of the assembled sequence corresponding to unassigned chromosomes (ChrUn). The sequence has been refined through both genome-wide and area-focused sequencing, including shotgun and paired-end sequencing, and targeted sequencing of chromosomal regions with low or incomplete coverage. These additional efforts have improved the sequence assembly resulting in 2 subsequent genome builds of higher genome coverage (25X/ Build3.0 and 30X/Build4.0) with a current sequence totaling 1,010 Mb. Further, BAC with end sequences assigned to the Z/W and MG18 (MHC) chromosomes, ChrUn, or not placed in the previous build were isolated, deeply sequenced (Hi-Seq), and incorporated into the latest build (5.0). To aid in the annotation and to generate a gene expression atlas of major tissues, a comprehensive set of RNA samples was collected at various developmental stages of female and male turkeys. Transcriptome sequencing data (using Illumina Hi-Seq) will provide information to enhance the final assembly and ultimately improve sequence annotation. The most current sequence covers more than 95% of the turkey genome and should yield a much improved gene level of annotation, making it a valuable resource for studying genetic variations underlying economically important traits in poultry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-484
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Historical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Genome
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Transcriptome
  • Turkey


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