The SNPRC Department of Genetics works to advance human health through basic biomedical research with animal and human populations. Specifically, we characterize the genetic components of susceptibility to common diseases of public health importance. Our Genomics Core aims to maximize the genetic diversity of our pedigreed baboon, rhesus and marmoset colonies, as well as serve the scientific community with nonhuman primate (NHP) genomic services for NIH-funded investigators on a fee-for-service basis.

Our computing cluster, MEDUSA, is one of the largest computing facilities in the world dedicated to human and non-human primate genomics. It maximizes the long-term efficiency of SNPRC colony production by continuing to genetically and reproductively manage our nonhuman primate colonies.

Only a few breeding colonies have developed large pedigreed nonhuman primate colonies and have access to local expertise and/or facilities for genetic and genomic analyses of NHPs. SNPRC can generate the data required to meet the national need for genetically and genomically characterized, pedigreed nonhuman primates for translational studies.

© Clem Spalding 210-271-7273
Texas Biomed’s “computer ranch” is the world’s largest computing cluster devoted to human genetic and genomic research. — Photo by Clem Spalding

SNPRC has led the field of nonhuman primate genetics with the long-established pedigreed, genotyped baboon colony now producing its eighth generation of animals, and a newly pedigreed, genotyped SPF rhesus colony. To maintain our status as the preeminent institution for nonhuman primate genetic studies, we take advantage of new sequencing and bioinformatics tools to perform detailed genomic characterization of animals in our pedigreed colonies. The genomic data will allow investigators to identify animals that carry genetic variants associated with disease risk and vaccine response and select specific animals carrying desired alleles for targeted research studies.

We also take advantage of our unique ability to perform nonhuman primate genetic, genomic and parentage (paternity and maternity) analyses. We can integrate high-resolution genomic data with phenotypic data on animals that have been phenotyped for quantitative traits and can be used in targeted translational studies. We plan to increase the number of animals in the SNPRC colony with genomic data, use this information for colony management and identify genes encoding variation in common human diseases. These nonhuman primate resources will be unparalleled for translational studies relevant to human health and disease. Progress in primate genomics will be a service to a wide range of current and future NIH investigators