Until recently, the construction of a reference genome was performed using Sanger sequencing alone. The emergence of next-generation sequencing platforms now means reference genomes may incorporate sequence data generated from a range of sequencing platforms, each of which have different read length, systematic biases and mate-pair characteristics. The objective of this review is to inform the mammalian genomics community about the experimental strategy being pursued by the International Sheep Genomics Consortium (ISGC) to construct the draft reference genome of sheep (Ovis aries). Component activities such as data generation, sequence assembly and annotation are described, along with information concerning the key researchers performing the work. This aims to foster future participation from across the research community through the coordinated activities of the consortium. The review also serves as a 'marker paper' by providing information concerning the pre-publication release of the reference genome. This ensures the ISGC adheres to the framework for data sharing established at the recent Toronto International Data Release Workshop and provides guidelines for data users.
© 2010 The Authors, Animal Genetics © 2010 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.