Transcriptome Atlas of 16 Donkey Tissues

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

5 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Yinan Wang
  • Yonghui Wang
  • Changfa Wang

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number682734
Journal / PublicationFrontiers in Genetics
Online published9 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021



Donkeys (Equus asinus) are important livestock with great economic value in meat, skin, and milk production. However, a lack of knowledge of the transcriptome landscape across a wide range of donkey tissues limits genetic selective breeding and conservation. Here we used transcriptomics to describe the transcriptome landscape, classify the tissue-specific gene expression across all primary donkey tissues, and present supplementary analyses on the protein level of additional donkey milk samples. Overall, 16,013 protein-coding genes and 21,983 transcripts were mapped to the reference genome, including 6,778 ubiquitously expressed genes and 2,601 tissue-enriched genes. Functional analysis revealed that the function of the tissue-enriched genes was highly tissue specific. Tissue-elevated genes that could be associated with unique phenotypes in donkey were analyzed. The results showed that, compared with those in human and other livestock, the lysozyme gene in donkey breast was specifically and highly expressed. The calcium-binding lysozyme, encoded by the lysozyme gene, was also detected in high amounts in donkey milk. Given those intact lysozyme genes that predict potentially functional calcium-binding lysozyme found in only a few species (e.g., donkey and horse), the high expression of the lysozyme gene in donkey breast may contribute to the high lysozyme content in donkey milk. Furthermore, 71% of the proteins in donkey milk overlapped with human milk protein, higher than the overlapping rates of bovine, sheep, and swine with humans. The donkey transcriptomic resource contributes to the available genomic resources to interpret the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotype traits.

Research Area(s)

  • donkey, iBAQ, lysozyme, proteomics, RNA sequencing

Citation Format(s)

Transcriptome Atlas of 16 Donkey Tissues. / Wang, Yinan; Miao, Xinyao; Zhao, Zicheng; Wang, Yonghui; Li, Shuaicheng; Wang, Changfa.

In: Frontiers in Genetics, Vol. 12, 682734, 08.2021.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

Download Statistics

No data available