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Characterization of genetic regulatory variants acting on the transcriptome of livestock is essential for interpreting the molecular mechanisms underlying traits of economic value and for increasing the rate of genetic gain through artificial selection. Here, we build a cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression atlas (cGTEx, http://cgtex.roslin.ed.ac.uk/) for the research community based on 11,642 RNA sequences from publicly available datasets representing over 100 cattle tissues. We describe the landscape of the transcriptome across tissues and report hundreds of thousands of cis- and trans- genetic associations with gene expression and alternative splicing for 24 major tissues. We evaluate the specificity/similarity of these genetic regulatory effects across tissues, and functionally annotate them using a combination of multi-omics data. Finally, we link gene expression in different tissues to 43 economically important traits using a large transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to provide novel biological insights into the molecular regulatory mechanisms underpinning agronomic traits in cattle.

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