Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Norway spruce genome sequenced: Largest ever to be mapped

Date:
May 22, 2013
Source:
Umeå universitet
Summary:
Scientists have mapped the gene sequence of Norway spruce (the Christmas tree) -- a species with huge economic and ecological importance -- and that is the largest genome to have ever been mapped. The genome is complex and seven times larger than that of humans.

Ove Nilsson, Pär Ingvarsson and Stefan Jansson.
Credit: Image courtesy of Umeå universitet

Swedish scientists have mapped the gene sequence of Norway spruce (the Christmas tree) -- a species with huge economic and ecological importance -- and that is the largest genome to have ever been mapped. The genome is complex and seven times larger than that of humans.

Related Articles


The results have been published in the journal Nature.

In addition to its scientific interest this new knowledge has immense importance to the forestry industry in many countries.

This major research project has been led by Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) in Umeå and the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Stockholm.

"Forest tree breeding is now entering a new era, and Sweden has the potential to be in the forefront of development," says Professor Ove Nilsson from UPSC. "Newer and more effective methods can begin to be used to ensure that the over 200 million tree seedlings planted each year in Sweden are as strong, healthy and well-adapted as possible for both poor and rich soil areas in different parts of the country."

The scientists have identified about 29,000 functional genes, marginally more than humans have, but the question arises: why is the spruce genome still seven times larger than ours? According to the study an explanation is "genome obesity" caused by extensive repetitive DNA sequences, which have accumulated for several hundred million years of evolutionary history. Other plant and animal species have efficient mechanisms to eliminate such repetitive DNA, but these do not seem to operate so well in conifers.

"It is remarkable that the spruce is doing so well despite this unnecessary genetic load," says Professor Pär Ingvarsson at UPSC. "Of course, some of this DNA has a function but it seems strange that it would be beneficial to have so very much. This appears to be something special for conifers."

The greatest challenge in the project has been to get the approximately 20 billion "letters" found in spruce's genetic code into the correct order, rather than obtaining the actual DNA sequences.

"Imagine a library with ten thousand books as thick as the bible, written in a language with only four letters," explains Professor Stefan Jansson at UPSC. "If someone took one hundred identical copies of each of the ten thousand titles, passed them all through a document shredder and mixed all the shreds, and you then were asked to piece together an accurate copy of each title, you can realize that it can be a bit problematic."

"We had to customise computers and rewrite many of the computer programmes used in similar studies in order to handle the large amount of DNA sequences," says Professor Joakim Lundeberg from SciLifeLab. The national data storage system was stretched to the limit, and there were many other practical problems that had to be solved along the way to pull through the project.

"But the timing was optimal; when the new DNA sequencing machines were unpacked at our newly established laboratory, DNA arrived from our model spruce tree. By sequencing and analysing the largest genome in the world so far, we have shown that SciLifeLab has both technical and scientific capacity for research at the highest international level," concludes Joakim Lundeberg.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Umeå universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Björn Nystedt, Nathaniel R. Street, Anna Wetterbom, Andrea Zuccolo, Yao-Cheng Lin, Douglas G. Scofield, Francesco Vezzi, Nicolas Delhomme, Stefania Giacomello, Andrey Alexeyenko, Riccardo Vicedomini, Kristoffer Sahlin, Ellen Sherwood, Malin Elfstrand, Lydia Gramzow, Kristina Holmberg, Jimmie Hällman, Olivier Keech, Lisa Klasson, Maxim Koriabine, Melis Kucukoglu, Max Käller, Johannes Luthman, Fredrik Lysholm, Totte Niittylä, Åke Olson, Nemanja Rilakovic, Carol Ritland, Josep A. Rosselló, Juliana Sena, Thomas Svensson, Carlos Talavera-López, Günter Theißen, Hannele Tuominen, Kevin Vanneste, Zhi-Qiang Wu, Bo Zhang, Philipp Zerbe, Lars Arvestad, Rishikesh Bhalerao, Joerg Bohlmann, Jean Bousquet, Rosario Garcia Gil, Torgeir R. Hvidsten, Pieter de Jong, John MacKay, Michele Morgante, Kermit Ritland, Björn Sundberg, Stacey Lee Thompson, Yves Van de Peer, Björn Andersson, Ove Nilsson, Pär K. Ingvarsson, Joakim Lundeberg, Stefan Jansson. The Norway spruce genome sequence and conifer genome evolution. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12211

Cite This Page:

Umeå universitet. "Norway spruce genome sequenced: Largest ever to be mapped." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522131039.htm>.
Umeå universitet. (2013, May 22). Norway spruce genome sequenced: Largest ever to be mapped. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522131039.htm
Umeå universitet. "Norway spruce genome sequenced: Largest ever to be mapped." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522131039.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) — For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) — An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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