Background: The ferret (Mustela putorius furo) represents an attractive animal model for the study of respiratory diseases, including influenza. Despite its importance for biomedical research, the number of reagents for molecular and immunological analysis is restricted. We present here a parallel sequencing effort to produce an extensive EST (expressed sequence tags) dataset derived from a normalized ferret cDNA library made from mRNA from ferret blood, liver, lung, spleen and brain.
Results: We produced more than 500000 sequence reads that were assembled into 16000 partial ferret genes. These genes were combined with the available ferret sequences in the GenBank to develop a ferret specific microarray platform. Using this array, we detected tissue specific expression patterns which were confirmed by quantitative real time PCR assays. We also present a set of 41 ferret genes with even transcription profiles across the tested tissues, indicating their usefulness as housekeeping genes.
Conclusion: The tools developed in this study allow for functional genomic analysis and make further development of reagents for the ferret model possible.