BackgroundTranscriptomes are powerful resources, providing a window on the expressed portion of the genome that can be generated rapidly and at low cost for virtually any organism. However, because many genes have tissue-specific expression patterns, developing a complete transcriptome usually requires a ‘discovery pool’ of individuals to be sacrificed in order to harvest mRNA from as many different types of tissue as possible. This hinders transcriptome development in large, charismatic and endangered species, many of which stand the most to gain from such approaches. To circumvent this problem in a model pinniped species, we 454 sequenced cDNA from testis, heart, spleen, intestine, kidney and lung tissues obtained from nine adult male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) that died of natural causes at Bird Island, South Georgia. ResultsAfter applying stringent quality control criteria based on length and annotation, we obtained 12,397 contigs which, in combination with 454 data previously obtained from skin, gave a total of 23,096 unique contigs. Homology was found to 77.0% of dog (Canis lupus familiaris) transcripts, suggesting that the combined assembly represents a substantial proportion of this species’ transcriptome. Moreover, only 0.5% of transcripts revealed sequence similarity to bacteria, implying minimal contamination, and the percentage of transcripts involved in cell death was low at 2.6%. Transcripts with immune-related annotations were almost five-fold enriched relative to skin and represented 13.2% of all spleen-specific contigs. By reference to the dog, we also identified transcripts revealing homology to five class I, ten class II and three class III genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex and derived the putative genomic distribution of 17,121 contigs, 2,119 in silico mined microsatellites and 9,382 single nucleotide polymorphisms. ConclusionsOur findings suggest that transcriptome development based on samples collected post mortem may greatly facilitate genomic studies, not only of marine mammals but also more generally of species that are of conservation concern.
Image Courtesy: bremenportsIn today’s spotted, we bring you an image of Auto Energy, a new pure car truck carrier (PCTC) owned by Norwegian shipping company United European Car Carriers (UECC) which was recently presented at an event at Bremerhaven’s Überseehafen.Auto Energy is said to be the world’s car carrier with the main engine that can run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).“In LNG operation, the emission of nitrogen oxides is reduced by up to 80 percent and there are no sulphur dioxide or particulate emissions at all,” Jörg Schulz, Bremen’s State Councillor for Ports, commented during his visit on board the vessel. Auto Energy is a dual-fuel vessel, which means it can run not only on LNG but also on heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil. The vessel satisfies the standards that apply within the Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) zones, according to bremenports.Featuring a length of 181 meters and a width of 30 meters, Auto Energy can carry up to 4,000 cars and has a ramp capacity of up to 160 tons.Launched at the Nantong Cosco KHI Ship Engineering (NACKS) shipyard in Nantong, China, in June 2016, the vessel has 1A ice class certification.Auto Energy’s sister vessel, Auto Eco, joined UECC’s fleet in late September 29.The two LNG-propelled vessels will operate on European routes, linking the ports of Southampton, Zeebrugge, Bremerhaven, Malmö, Hanko, St. Petersburg and Gdynia.