Chinese researchers have released an updated version of the tree shrew genome with more genetic information of the animal.
The tree shrew is a mammal the size of a lab mouse and is a close relative to primates. It has been increasingly used as an animal model alternative to rodents and primates in studies of hepatitis, avian influenza, myopia and some tumors.
In 2013, Chinese researchers built and released the first database of the tree shrew genome which had high sequencing coverage but still did not fully meet research needs.
In the new study, researchers from the Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used the technology of single-molecule sequencing to fill the gaps in the first version of the tree shrew genome.
According to the research published in the journal Zoological Research, compared to the human genome, a total of 221 genome structural variants were identified in tree shrews, 188 in macaques and 387 in mice.
It suggested that the tree shrew’s genomic structure had a higher similarity to that of primates than to mice, said the researchers.
The researchers said that they hope the database will provide more help for studying tree shrew biology and modeling human diseases with tree shew models.