Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sequencing Thousand And One Genomes

Date:
October 7, 2008
Source:
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
Summary:
Researchers report the simultaneous completion of the first genomes of wild Arabidopsis thaliana strains as part of the 1001 Genomes Project.

Different strains of thale cress, with the background schematically indicating differences in the genetic code.
Credit: Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Researchers report the simultaneous completion of the first genomes of wild Arabidopsis thaliana strains as part of the 1001 Genomes Project.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, Germany, reported the completion of the first genomes of wild strains of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The entire genomes of two individuals of this species, one from Ireland, the other from Japan, have now been compared in great detail. They were found to be astonishingly different from each other, as Detlef Weigel and his colleagues write in Genome Research.

This study marks the starting point of the 1001 Genomes Project in which a total of thousand and one individuals of the same species will be sequenced. The scientists aim at correlating the genetic differences between the different strains with variation in the speed of plant growth and their resistance against infectious germs. These strategies could then also be applied to crop plants or trees.

Every genome is different. Everybody knows that the genome of apes must be different from our human genome and that both are different from the genome of a sunflower. It is only a few years ago that a huge research community produced at great cost a single human genome sequence. The assumption was that it would unlock all the essential features of our species, since any differences between us were thought to be very minor, on the order of 0.1 percent of the entire genome.

Similar views prevailed for other species, including thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism in plant science. It is one of the best-understood organisms on earth, however, the genetic differences that allow different strains of this plant to thrive in very different places all over the Northern hemisphere are largely unknown.

Until very recently, it was assumed that the similarity in appearance of different individuals of thale cress is matched by a similar degree of similarity in the genetic material. “But is it really true that such subtle differences in our DNA or in that of thale cress can account for the great variation in individual traits? Is there indeed something like ‘the’ genome of a species, or do have to change our point of view and focus on the genome of an individual?” asks Detlef Weigel, director at the Max Planck Institute for Development Biology.

Recent advances in the technology of DNA sequencing have reduced the price for reading a single genome by several orders of magnitude, and this can now be accomplished within a week, rather than months or years. However, there are still few analytical tools for the torrent of data produced by the new generation of sequencing machines, such as the one sold by the San Diego based company Illumina. The Max Planck Institute group had to overcome a series of technical challenges to reconstruct the genome sequences of the two strains it analyzed from the rather short snippets of sequences that the Illumina instrument delivers. But the first feasibility study has now been finished, demonstrating that even with these very short sequence reads not only point differences can be identified, but also missing or extra genetic material can be tracked down. “We are confident that our method is robust, and we have begun to sequence the genomes of 80 thale cress strains”, says Weigel. The project should be finished by January 2009.

The study marks the start of a project on a much larger scale. Within the next two years the 1001 Genomes project, spearheaded by Weigel, plans to sequence at least 1001 different thale cress individuals from around the world. The hope is that armed with this information, it will be possible to correlate genetic differences with variation in the speed with which plants grow, how much they branch, or how well they resist infectious germs. This project, in turn, will inform similar projects on crop plants, which have much larger genomes and are therefore more difficult to analyze.

While this is very exciting, the task will not be done once every individual genome is sequenced. In every cell, the genomes are packaged in different ways, allowing for different activities of the same genetic material. With the next sequencing techniques, these subtle differences can be studied as well. Thus, the 1001 Genomes project will peel away only the first layer of variation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ossowski et al. Sequencing of natural strains of Arabidopsis thaliana with short reads. Genome Research, September 25, 2008; DOI: 10.1101/gr.080200.108

Cite This Page:

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. "Sequencing Thousand And One Genomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929100018.htm>.
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. (2008, October 7). Sequencing Thousand And One Genomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929100018.htm
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. "Sequencing Thousand And One Genomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929100018.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins