Mammalian genomic regulatory regions predicted by utilizing human genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenetics data

Quan H. Nguyen, Ross L. Tellam, Marina Naval-Sanchez, Laercio R. Porto-Neto, William Barendse, Antonio Reverter, Benjamin Hayes, James Kijas, Brian P. Dalrymple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Genome sequences for hundreds of mammalian species are available, but an understanding of their genomic regulatory regions, which control gene expression, is only beginning. A comprehensive prediction of potential active regulatory regions is necessary to functionally study the roles of the majority of genomic variants in evolution, domestication, and animal production. We developed a computational method to predict regulatory DNA sequences (promoters, enhancers, and transcription factor binding sites) in production animals (cows and pigs) and extended its broad applicability to other mammals. The method utilizes human regulatory features identified from thousands of tissues, cell lines, and experimental assays to find homologous regions that are conserved in sequences and genome organization and are enriched for regulatory elements in the genome sequences of other mammalian species. Importantly, we developed a filtering strategy, including a machine learning classification method, to utilize a very small number of species-specific experimental datasets available to select for the likely active regulatory regions. The method finds the optimal combination of sensitivity and accuracy to unbiasedly predict regulatory regions in mammalian species. Furthermore, we demonstrated the utility of the predicted regulatory datasets in cattle for prioritizing variants associated with multiple production and climate change adaptation traits and identifying potential genome editing targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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