Open Access Open Badges Research article

An update of the goat genome assembly using dense radiation hybrid maps allows detailed analysis of evolutionary rearrangements in Bovidae

Xiaoyong Du16, Bertrand Servin2, James E Womack3, Jianhua Cao1, Mei Yu1, Yang Dong45, Wen Wang4* and Shuhong Zhao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key lab of animal genetics, breeding and reproduction of ministry education, College of Animal Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, People's Republic of China

2 INRA, Laboratoire de Génétique Cellulaire, Castanet-Tolosan, Auzeville-Tolosane 31320, France

3 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA

4 State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China

5 Faculty of Life Science and Technology, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Kunming 650500, People's Republic of China

6 State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, People's Republic of China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2014, 15:625  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-625

Published: 23 July 2014



The domestic goat (Capra hircus), an important livestock species, belongs to a clade of Ruminantia, Bovidae, together with cattle, buffalo and sheep. The history of genome evolution and chromosomal rearrangements on a small scale in ruminants remain speculative. Recently completed goat genome sequence was released but is still in a draft stage. The draft sequence used a variety of assembly packages, as well as a radiation hybrid (RH) map of chromosome 1 as part of its validation.


Using an improved RH mapping pipeline, whole-genome dense maps of 45,953 SNP markers were constructed with statistical confidence measures and the saturated maps provided a fine map resolution of approximate 65 kb. Linking RH maps to the goat sequences showed that the assemblies of scaffolds/super-scaffolds were globally accurate. However, we observed certain flaws linked to the process of anchoring chromosome using conserved synteny with cattle. Chromosome assignments, long-range order, and orientation of the scaffolds were reassessed in an updated genome sequence version. We also present new results exploiting the updated goat genome sequence to understand genomic rearrangements and chromosome evolution between mammals during species radiations. The sequence architecture of rearrangement sites between the goat and cattle genomes presented abundant segmental duplication on regions of goat chromosome 9 and 14, as well as new insertions in homologous cattle genome regions. This complex interplay between duplicated sequences and Robertsonian translocations highlights the rearrangement mechanism of centromeric nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) in mammals. We observed that species-specific shifts in ANKRD26 gene duplication are coincident with breakpoint reuse in divergent lineages and this gene family may play a role in chromosome stabilization in chromosome evolution.


We generated dense maps of the complete whole goat genome. The chromosomal maps allowed us to anchor and orientate assembled genome scaffolds along the chromosomes, annotate chromosome rearrangements and thereby get a better understanding of the genome evolution of ruminants and other mammals.

Goat; Radiation hybrid map; Genomic rearrangements; Gene duplication