Generation of an equine biobank to be used for Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes project

E. N. Burns, M. H. Bordbari, M. J. Mienaltowski, V. K. Affolter, M. V. Barro, F. Gianino, G. Gianino, E. Giulotto, T. S. Kalbfleisch, S. A. Katzman, M. Lassaline, T. Leeb, M. Mack, E. J. Müller, J. N. MacLeod, B. Ming-Whitfield, C. R. Alanis, T. Raudsepp, E. Scott, S. VigH. Zhou, J. L. Petersen, R. R. Bellone, C. J. Finno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) project aims to identify genomic regulatory elements in both sexes across multiple stages of development in domesticated animals. This study represents the first stage of the FAANG project for the horse, Equus caballus. A biobank of 80 tissue samples, two cell lines and six body fluids was created from two adult Thoroughbred mares. Ante-mortem assessments included full physical examinations, lameness, ophthalmologic and neurologic evaluations. Complete blood counts and serum biochemistries were also performed. At necropsy, in addition to tissue samples, aliquots of serum, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) plasma, heparinized plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, urine and microbiome samples from all regions of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts were collected. Epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts were cultured from skin samples. All tissues were grossly and histologically evaluated by a board-certified veterinary pathologist. The results of the clinical and pathological evaluations identified subclinical eosinophilic and lymphocytic infiltration throughout the length of the gastrointestinal tract as well as a mild clinical lameness in both animals. Each sample was cryo-preserved in multiple ways, and nuclei were extracted from selected tissues. These samples represent the first published systemically healthy equine-specific biobank with extensive clinical phenotyping ante- and post-mortem. The tissues in the biobank are intended for community-wide use in the functional annotation of the equine genome. The use of the biobank will improve the quality of the reference annotation and allow all equine researchers to elucidate unknown genomic and epigenomic causes of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E.N.B was supported by USDA NIFA National Need Fellowship Award #20143842021796. All listed funding agencies provided support for sample collection or salary support for the investigators listed above. None of the funding agencies had any role in the design of the study, analysis, interpretation of the data or writing of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Funding for sample collection was provided by the Grayson Jockey Club Foundation, USDA NRSP-8 and the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. Support for M.J.M. was provided by UC Davis Agriculture Experiment Station. Support for C.J.F. was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1K01OD015134 and L40 TR001136).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics


  • biorepository
  • genome regulation
  • horse
  • necropsy
  • nuclei isolation
  • tissue collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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