Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Status and applications of genomic resources for the gray, short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, an American marsupial model for comparative biology

Paul B. Samollow

Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458, USA. Email: psamollow@cvm.tamu.edu

Australian Journal of Zoology 54(3) 173-196 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO05059
Submitted: 21 September 2005  Accepted: 24 April 2006   Published: 22 June 2006

Abstract

Owing to its small size, favourable reproductive characteristics, and simple husbandry, the gray, short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, has become the most widely distributed and intensively utilised laboratory-bred research marsupial in the world today. This article provides an overview of the current state and future projections of genomic resources for this species and discusses the potential impact of this growing resource base on active research areas that use M. domestica as a model system. The resources discussed include: fully arrayed, bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries; an expanding linkage map; developing full-genome BAC-contig and chromosomal fluorescence in situ hybridisation maps; public websites providing access to the M. domestica whole-genome-shotgun sequence trace database and the whole-genome sequence assembly; and a new project underway to create an expressed-sequence database and microchip expression arrays for functional genomics applications. Major research areas discussed span a variety of genetic, evolutionary, physiologic, reproductive, developmental, and behavioural topics, including: comparative immunogenetics; genomic imprinting; reproductive biology; neurobiology; photobiology and carcinogenesis; genetics of lipoprotein metabolism; developmental and behavioural endocrinology; sexual differentiation and development; embryonic and fetal development; meiotic recombination; genome evolution; molecular evolution and phylogenetics; and more.


Acknowledgments

The author’s work is supported in part by grant RR014214 from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health (USA).


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