A first comparative map of copy number variations in the sheep genome.
ABSTRACT We carried out a cross species cattle-sheep array comparative genome hybridization experiment to identify copy number variations (CNVs) in the sheep genome analysing ewes of Italian dairy or dual-purpose breeds (Bagnolese, Comisana, Laticauda, Massese, Sarda, and Valle del Belice) using a tiling oligonucleotide array with ~385,000 probes designed on the bovine genome. We identified 135 CNV regions (CNVRs; 24 reported in more than one animal) covering ~10.5 Mb of the virtual sheep genome referred to the bovine genome (0.398%) with a mean and a median equal to 77.6 and 55.9 kb, respectively. A comparative analysis between the identified sheep CNVRs and those reported in cattle and goat genomes indicated that overlaps between sheep and both other species CNVRs are highly significant (P<0.0001), suggesting that several chromosome regions might contain recurrent interspecies CNVRs. Many sheep CNVRs include genes with important biological functions. Further studies are needed to evaluate their functional relevance.