Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Panning for gold’ in the maize genome

19.12.2003


New approaches yield gene-rich regions, accelerate sequencing



Decoding of a variety of plant genomes could accelerate due to two complementary methods that remove from analysis vast stretches of DNA that do not contain genes.

The approaches, applied jointly in efforts to determine the gene sequences in maize, are described in the Dec. 19 issue of the journal Science. The evaluation of these methods and the assembly of the resulting sequences were undertaken by two groups led by researchers from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.


The research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program.

Only about a quarter of the maize genome codes for genes, and these are found in small clusters scattered through a mixture of non-coding DNA and transposons (mobile DNA segments). Two different methods tested by the TIGR group successfully captured parts of the maize genome containing genes. The gene-sequences are of most interest because they provide the specific blueprint for an organism’s development, structure and physiology.

With so much non-gene sequence to deal with, it has not been feasible to sequence and assemble the whole maize genome with current technologies. Thus, it is a major shortcut to capture only the portion of the maize sequence containing its genes without having to sequence the entire genome.

"Collecting the maize genes for sequencing is like panning for gold," said Jane Silverthorne, program director for NSF’s plant genome program. "Just as gold can be separated from the surrounding rock because it is denser, maize genes can be separated from the surrounding DNA by their chemical and sequence properties."

The first method tested, called methylation filtration, removes sequences that contain a chemical modification (methylation) found on most of the repeated sequences and transposons, leaving behind the proverbial gold of genes. It was developed by a team led by Robert Martienssen and W. Richard McCombie at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The second method, developed by researchers at the University of Georgia, removes the repeated sequences by separating the DNA into "high-copy," gene-poor segments and "low-copy," gene-rich segments.

Led by Cathy Whitelaw, the research team at TIGR compared sequences obtained by the two methods. About one fourth of the genes in each collection matched known gene sequences. About 35 percent of the genes were represented in both collections.

Each method was found to enrich for distinct but complementary regions of maize’s 10-chromosome genome. Combined, the methods could cut the amount of sequencing necessary to find all of the maize genes to about one-fourth of what it would take to sequence the entire genome.

As both methods yielded short stretches of sequence, a major challenge was to reassemble these into complete genes. To do this, the Cold Spring Harbor group lined up the sequence pieces from maize along the rice genome sequence, a deep draft of which was completed in 2002 by an international consortium. The researchers then reassembled selected sets of sequence fragments into complete genes. This approach will be an important part of assembling the short pieces of DNA yielded by the two enrichments methods into complete gene clusters.

According to Silverthorne, "Together, these findings suggest that scientists could be able to sift out the approximately 450 million base pairs of DNA containing the genes from the maize genome and then reassemble the sequence. Such a comprehensive genomic resource would provide growers and breeders a wealth of tools to improve maize, as well as other cereal crops."


Other collaborators in the study included the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Orion Genomics, both of St. Louis, Mo.

Sean Kearns | NSF
Further information:
http://nsf.gov/bio/pubs/awards/genome03.htm
http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/pr03114_priors.htm
http://www.nsf.gov/bio/dbi/dbi_pgr.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel 3-D printing technique yields high-performance composites

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations

16.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials

16.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>