Background: Large collections of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) are a fundamental resource for analysis of gene expression and annotation of genome sequences. We generated 116,899 ESTs from 17 normalized and two non-normalized cDNA libraries representing 16 tissues from tilapia, a cichlid fish widely used in aquaculture and biological research.
Results: The ESTs were assembled into 20,190 contigs and 36,028 singletons for a total of 56,218 unique sequences and a total assembled length of 35,168,415 bp. Over the whole project, a unique sequence was discovered for every 2.079 sequence reads. 17,722 (31.5%) of these unique sequences had significant BLAST hits (e-value < 10(-10)) to the UniProt database.
Conclusion: Normalization of the cDNA pools with double-stranded nuclease allowed us to efficiently sequence a large collection of ESTs. These sequences are an important resource for studies of gene expression, comparative mapping and annotation of the forthcoming tilapia genome sequence.