NEW YORK, Nov. 25 - Behold the rat--or at least peruse its genome.
The Rat Genome Sequencing Consortium today said it has deposited into GenBank the 21-chromosome assembly of the rat genome.
An international group of researchers from eight companies, hospitals, and academic and nonprofit groups, the consortium combined clone-by-clone sequencing with the whole genome-shotgun method to sequence the animal. The scientists also developed new software, called Atlas, to help assemble it.
The 6.5-fold coverage comprises 33 million gene sequences, around 12 million of which are from 20,000 BACs. When crunched by the Atlas assembler, the genome appeared in 1,032 segments, according to the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center, which is the lead institution in the consortium.
The contigs total 2.56 billion base pairs, or more than 90 percent of the genome. The typical contig size is 32,200 bases, while the genome itself is believed to be 2.8 Gigabases--somewhat smaller than the human but larger than the mouse.
Beside Texas-based Baylor, participants included Celera Genomics; the Genome Therapeutics Corporation, of Waltham, Mass.; the British Columbia Cancer Agency, in Vancouver, B.C.; the Institute for Genomic Research; the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City; Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, in Oakland, Calif.; and the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, Wis.
The project is funded jointly by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The assembly can be seen here.