Background: Non-human primates (NHPs) and humans share major biological mechanisms, functions, and responses due to their close evolutionary relationship and, as such, provide ideal animal models to study human diseases. RNA expression in NHPs provides specific signatures that are informative of disease mechanisms and therapeutic modes of action. Unlike the human transcriptome, the transcriptomes of major NHP animal models are yet to be comprehensively annotated.
Results: In this manuscript, employing deep RNA sequencing of seven tissue samples, we characterize the transcriptomes of two commonly used NHP animal models: Cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops). We present the Multi-Species Annotation (MSA) pipeline that leverages well-annotated primate species and annotates 99.8% of reconstructed transcripts. We elucidate tissue-specific expression profiles and report 13 experimentally validated novel transcripts in these NHP animal models.
Conclusion: We report comprehensively annotated transcriptomes of two non-human primates, which we have made publically available on a customized UCSC Genome Browser interface. The MSA pipeline is also freely available.