A total of 98 898 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) derived from embryos and reproductive tissues in pigs were identified in the GenBank “est_others” database. Pig embryos were collected at 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 30, and 45 days after gestation. The reproductive tissues were sampled from testis, ovary, endometrium, hypothalamus, anterior pituitary, uterus, and placenta. A gene-oriented approach was developed to annotate these porcine EST sequences to census the genes expressed from these sources. Of the 33 308 mRNA sequences from the human genes used as references (data accessed on 1 November 2002), 9410 had the porcine EST homologs expressed in embryos and 11 795 had the EST homologs expressed in reproductive tissues. The entire genome contributes at least 28.3% of its genes to embryo development and 35.4% of its genes to reproduction. Using the EST entry numbers as indicators of gene expression, we determined that the gene expression patterns differ significantly between embryos and reproductive tissues in pigs. The basic active genes were identified for each source, but most of them are not coexpressed abundantly. Few genes were expressed on the Y chromosome (P < 0.01), but they may represent counterparts of the double-dose genes that remain active in an inactivated X chromosome in females but are needed for proper development and growth. The census provides a panel of transcripts in a broad sense that can be used as targets to study the mechanisms involved in embryo development and reproduction in pigs and other mammals, including humans.
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