The draft genome sequence of the ferret (Mustela putorius furo) facilitates study of human respiratory disease

Xinxia Peng, Jessica Alföldi, Kevin Gori, Amie J Eisfeld, Scott R Tyler, Jennifer Tisoncik-Go, David Brawand, G Lynn Law, Nives Skunca, Masato Hatta, David J Gasper, Sara M Kelly, Jean Chang, Matthew J Thomas, Jeremy Johnson, Aaron M Berlin, Marcia Lara, Pamela Russell, Ross Swofford, Jason Turner-MaierSarah Young, Thibaut Hourlier, Bronwen Aken, Steve Searle, Xingshen Sun, Yaling Yi, M Suresh, Terrence M Tumpey, Adam Siepel, Samantha M Wisely, Christophe Dessimoz, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Bruce W Birren, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Federica Di Palma, John F Engelhardt, Robert E Palermo, Michael G Katze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


The domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) is an important animal model for multiple human respiratory diseases. It is considered the 'gold standard' for modeling human influenza virus infection and transmission1,2,3,4. Here we describe the 2.41 Gb draft genome assembly of the domestic ferret, constituting 2.28 Gb of sequence plus gaps. We annotated 19,910 protein-coding genes on this assembly using RNA-seq data from 21 ferret tissues. We characterized the ferret host response to two influenza virus infections by RNA-seq analysis of 42 ferret samples from influenza time-course data and showed distinct signatures in ferret trachea and lung tissues specific to 1918 or 2009 human pandemic influenza virus infections. Using microarray data from 16 ferret samples reflecting cystic fibrosis disease progression, we showed that transcriptional changes in the CFTR-knockout ferret lung reflect pathways of early disease that cannot be readily studied in human infants with cystic fibrosis disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1255
Number of pages6
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2014

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