Background: Our understanding of disease is increasingly informed by changes in gene expression between normal and abnormal tissues. The release of the canine genome sequence in 2005 provided an opportunity to better understand human health and disease using the dog as clinically relevant model. Accordingly, we now present the first genome-wide, canine normal tissue gene expression compendium with corresponding human cross-species analysis.
Methodology/principal findings: The Affymetrix platform was utilized to catalogue gene expression signatures of 10 normal canine tissues including: liver, kidney, heart, lung, cerebrum, lymph node, spleen, jejunum, pancreas and skeletal muscle. The quality of the database was assessed in several ways. Organ defining gene sets were identified for each tissue and functional enrichment analysis revealed themes consistent with known physio-anatomic functions for each organ. In addition, a comparison of orthologous gene expression between matched canine and human normal tissues uncovered remarkable similarity. To demonstrate the utility of this dataset, novel canine gene annotations were established based on comparative analysis of dog and human tissue selective gene expression and manual curation of canine probeset mapping. Public access, using infrastructure identical to that currently in use for human normal tissues, has been established and allows for additional comparisons across species.
Conclusions/significance: These data advance our understanding of the canine genome through a comprehensive analysis of gene expression in a diverse set of tissues, contributing to improved functional annotation that has been lacking. Importantly, it will be used to inform future studies of disease in the dog as a model for human translational research and provides a novel resource to the community at large.