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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A SNP based linkage map of the turkey genome reveals multiple intrachromosomal rearrangements between the Turkey and Chicken genomes

Muhammad L Aslam1*, John WM Bastiaansen1, Richard PMA Crooijmans1, Addie Vereijken2, Hendrik-Jan Megens1 and Martien AM Groenen1

Author Affiliations

1 Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University,6709PG, Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 Hendrix Genetics, Research & Technology Centre, 5830 AC, Boxmeer, The Netherlands

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:647  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-647

Published: 20 November 2010

Abstract

Background

The turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an important agricultural species that is the second largest contributor to the world's poultry meat production. The genomic resources of turkey provide turkey breeders with tools needed for the genetic improvement of commercial breeds of turkey for economically important traits. A linkage map of turkey is essential not only for the mapping of quantitative trait loci, but also as a framework to enable the assignment of sequence contigs to specific chromosomes. Comparative genomics with chicken provides insight into mechanisms of genome evolution and helps in identifying rare genomic events such as genomic rearrangements and duplications/deletions.

Results

Eighteen full sib families, comprising 1008 (35 F1 and 973 F2) birds, were genotyped for 775 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Of the 775 SNPs, 570 were informative and used to construct a linkage map in turkey. The final map contains 531 markers in 28 linkage groups. The total genetic distance covered by these linkage groups is 2,324 centimorgans (cM) with the largest linkage group (81 loci) measuring 326 cM. Average marker interval for all markers across the 28 linkage groups is 4.6 cM. Comparative mapping of turkey and chicken revealed two inter-, and 57 intrachromosomal rearrangements between these two species.

Conclusion

Our turkey genetic map of 531 markers reveals a genome length of 2,324 cM. Our linkage map provides an improvement of previously published maps because of the more even distribution of the markers and because the map is completely based on SNP markers enabling easier and faster genotyping assays than the microsatellitemarkers used in previous linkage maps. Turkey and chicken are shown to have a highly conserved genomic structure with a relatively low number of inter-, and intrachromosomal rearrangements.