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Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals - Woolley mammoth
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Celebrating Sydney School of Veterinary Science milestone

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals database turns 25 years old
What does a woolly mammoth, a black panther and Migaloo the white whale have in common? They're all entries in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals database, covering over 3,500 traits and disorders, across more than 250 species.

On 26 May 2020, a virtual celebration of OMIA’s 25 birthday will be hosted by the Sydney School of Veterinary Science by releasing three YouTube videos:

Video 1 - Introductory comments by Prof. Frazer Allan, Head of School and Dean, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney

Video 2 - Short summary (~6min) of Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) by E.Prof. Frank Nicholas, founder and curator of OMIA

Video 3 Full talk (~50 min) about Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) by E.Prof. Frank Nicholas, founder and curator of OMIA

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) is an online database, freely available to anyone in the world, created and curated in the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, within the University of Sydney, by Emeritus Professor Frank Nicholas, assisted by local and international colleagues. Starting as a mainframe database in 1980 called Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (MIA), the online version (OMIA) was launched as an open-access web-based resource on 26 May 1995. This was a few months before the University's first official website was launched in October 1995.

Twenty-five years later, OMIA continues to provide researchers, veterinarians and breeders from more than 150 countries with up-to-date summary information on all the known harmful and beneficial mutations in animals, together with background information on all known inherited disorders and beneficial traits, including those for which causal mutations have not yet been discovered.

OMIA covers more than 3,500 traits from achondroplasia to yellow-semen syndrome, across more than 250 species from agile gibbon to zebra finch. There are even two entries for woolly mammoth! (based on DNA analysis of preserved bone fragments). The vast majority of OMIA entries are for the major domesticated animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and goats. The only animals not included are species such as mice and rats, which have their own databases.

Example of some of the exotic entries in OMIA:

OMIA has tracked and recorded the impressive increase in the rate of discovery of causal mutations of traits (mainly disorders) in all the species it encompasses, since the very first discovery (in rabbits) in 1986. Because of its comprehensive coverage of likely causal mutations, OMIA is becoming the standard reference for commercial genotyping companies, enabling them to keep up to date with newly-discovered mutations, especially in the major domesticated animal species, for which they can offer a DNA test.

OMIA also provides direct links to its human equivalent (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, OMIM), enhancing the substantial power of comparative genomics to inform both human and veterinary medicine.

25 May 2020

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