By economic value, shrimp is currently the most important seafood commodity worldwide, and these animals are often the subject of scientific research in shrimp farming countries. High throughput methods, such as expressed sequence tags (ESTs), were originally developed to study human genomics, but they are now available for studying other important organisms, including shrimp. ESTs are short sequences generated by sequencing randomly selected cDNA clones from a cDNA library. This is currently the most efficient and powerful method for providing transcriptomic data for organisms with an uncharacterized genome. This review will summarize the sixteen major shrimp EST studies that have been conducted to date. In addition, we analyzed the EST data downloaded from NCBI dbEST for the four major penaeid shrimp species and constructed a database to host all of these EST data as well as our own analysis results. This database provides the shrimp aquaculture research community with an outline of the shrimp transcriptome as well as a tool for shrimp gene identification.
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