Quail Genomics: a knowledgebase for Northern bobwhite

Arun Rawat, University of Southern Mississippi
Mohamed O. Elasri, University of Southern Mississippi


Background: The Quail Genomics knowledgebase (http://www.quailgenomics.info) has been initiated to share and develop functional genomic data for Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). This web-based platform has been designed to allow researchers to perform analysis and curate genomic information for this non-model species that has little supporting information in GenBank. Description: A multi-tissue, normalized cDNA library generated for Northern bobwhite was sequenced using 454 Life Sciences next generation sequencing. The Quail Genomics knowledgebase represents the 478,142 raw ESTs generated from the sequencing effort in addition to assembled nucleotide and protein sequences including 21,980 unigenes annotated with meta-data. A normalized MySQL relational database was established to provide comprehensive search parameters where meta-data can be retrieved using functional and structural information annotation such as gene name, pathways and protein domain. Additionally, blast hit cutoff levels and microarray expression data are available for batch searches. A Gene Ontology (GO) browser from Amigo is locally hosted providing 8,825 unigenes that are putative orthologs to chicken genes. In an effort to address over abundance of Northern bobwhite unigenes (71,384) caused by non-overlapping contigs and singletons, we have built a pipeline that generates scaffolds/supercontigs by aligning partial sequence fragments against the indexed protein database of chicken to build longer sequences that can be visualized in a web browser. Conclusion: Our effort provides a central repository for storage and a platform for functional interrogation of the Northern bobwhite sequences providing comprehensive GO annotations, meta-data and a scaffold building pipeline. The Quail Genomics knowledgebase will be integrated with Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix) data in future builds and incorporate a broader platform for these avian species.