Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA; Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
The Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) is a member of the rodent family that displays several features not found in mice or rats, including sensory specializations and social patterns more similar to those in humans. These features have made gerbils a valuable animal for research studies of auditory and visual processing, brain development, learning and memory, and neurological disorders. Here, we report the whole gerbil annotated genome sequence, and identify important similarities and differences to the human and mouse genomes. We further analyze the chromosomal structure of eight genes with high relevance for controlling neural signaling and demonstrate a high degree of homology between these genes in mouse and gerbil. This homology increases the likelihood that individual genes can be rapidly identified in gerbil and used for genetic manipulations. The availability of the gerbil genome provides a foundation for advancing our knowledge towards understanding evolution, behavior and neural function in mammals. ACCESSION NUMBER: The Whole Genome Shotgun sequence data from this project has been deposited at DDBJ/ENA/GenBank under the accession NHTI00000000. The version described in this paper is version NHTI01000000. The fragment reads, and mate pair reads have been deposited in the Sequence Read Archive under BioSample accession SAMN06897401.