Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Analysis of a set of Australian northern brown bandicoot expressed sequence tags with comparison to the genome sequence of the South American grey short tailed opossum

Michelle L Baker1*, Sandra Indiviglio1, April M Nyberg1, George H Rosenberg1, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh2, Robert D Miller1 and Anthony T Papenfuss3

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

2 Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA

3 Bioinformatics Division, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2007, 8:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-50

Published: 13 February 2007



Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) have been used for rapid gene discovery in a variety of organisms and provide a valuable resource for whole genome annotation. Although the genome of one marsupial, the opossum Monodelphis domestica, has now been sequenced, no EST datasets have been reported from any marsupial species. In this study we describe an EST dataset from the bandicoot, Isoodon macrourus, providing information on the transcriptional profile of the bandicoot thymus and the opportunity for a genome wide comparison between the bandicoot and opossum, two distantly related marsupial species.


A set of 1319 ESTs was generated from sequencing randomly chosen clones from a bandicoot thymus cDNA library. The nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences were compared with sequences both in GenBank and the recently completed whole genome sequence of M. domestica. This study provides information on the transcriptional profile of the bandicoot thymus with the identification of genes involved in a broad range of activities including protein metabolism (24%), transcription and/or nucleic acid metabolism (10%), metabolism/energy pathways (9%), immunity (5%), signal transduction (5%), cell growth and maintenance (3%), transport (3%), cell cycle (0.7%) and apoptosis (0.5%) and a proportion of genes whose function is unknown (5.8%). Thirty four percent of the bandicoot ESTs found no match with annotated sequences in any of the public databases. Clustering and assembly of the 1319 bandicoot ESTs resulted in a set of 949 unique sequences of which 375 were unannotated ESTs. Of these, seventy one unannotated ESTs aligned to non-coding regions in the opossum, human, or both genomes, and were identified as strong non-coding RNA candidates. Eighty-four percent of the 949 assembled ESTs aligned with the M. domestica genome sequence indicating a high level of conservation between these two distantly related marsupials.


This study is among the first reported marsupial EST datasets with a significant inter-species genome comparison between marsupials, providing a valuable resource for transcriptional analyses in marsupials and for future annotation of marsupial whole genome sequences.