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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparison of transcriptomic landscapes of bovine embryos using RNA-Seq

Wen Huang and Hasan Khatib*

Author Affiliations

Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:711  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-711

Published: 17 December 2010



Advances in sequencing technologies have opened a new era of high throughput investigations. Although RNA-seq has been demonstrated in many organisms, no study has provided a comprehensive investigation of the bovine transcriptome using RNA-seq.


In this study, we provide a deep survey of the bovine embryonic transcriptomes, the first application of RNA-seq in cattle. Embryos cultured in vitro were used as models to study early embryonic development in cattle. RNA amplified from limited amounts of starting total RNA were sequenced and mapped to the reference genome to obtain digital gene expression at single base resolution. In particular, gene expression estimates from more than 1.6 million unannotated bases in 1785 novel transcribed units were obtained. We compared the transcriptomes of embryos showing distinct developmental statuses and found genes that showed differential overall expression as well as alternative splicing.


Our study demonstrates the power of RNA-seq and provides further understanding of bovine preimplantation embryonic development at a fine scale.