Frontiers in zoology [electronic resource]
Front Zool. 2022;19(1):30.
CW and RK are supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (ES29916, AG038070, DK131019, and DK131061) and the Alport Syndrome Foundation.
Unique genetic adaptations are present in bears of every species across the world. From (nearly) shutting down important organs during hibernation to preventing harm from lifestyles that could easily cause metabolic diseases in humans, bears may hold the answer to various human ailments. However, only a few of these unique traits are currently being investigated at the molecular level, partly because of the lack of necessary tools. One of these tools is well-annotated genome assemblies from the different, extant bear species. These reference genomes are needed to allow us to identify differences in genetic variants, isoforms, gene expression, and genomic features such as transposons and identify those that are associated with biomedical-relevant traits. In this review we assess the current state of the genome assemblies of the eight different bear species, discuss current gaps, and the future benefits these reference genomes may have in informing human biomedical applications, while at the same time improving bear conservation efforts.
Sequencing and assembling bear genomes: the bare necessities. Front Zool. 2022;19(1):30.