A large team led by biologists at the University of Southern California carried out what one author called “the first extensive use” of genome-wide association (GWA) in a plant species. The study located dozens of genes that may determine key traits such as flowering time and disease resistance.
The study broke new ground for two reasons: the authors studied natural variation of 107 different traits – a far higher number than in previous studies – in nearly 200 strains of a common weed collected from all over the world; and advances in genetic analysis enabled the authors to check the genome for mutations at many more points.
“The useful applications to agriculture, biofuel production and potentially changing and challenging plant growth conditions are vast,” said Susanna Atwell, a co-first author and postdoctoral researcher at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
“This data set and methodology holds the potential to determine genes involved in natural variation in metabolite levels, biomass, flowering time, salt or heavy metal tolerance and disease resistance, to name but a few.”
In this study, the authors compared the genomes of up to 192 families of Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant widely studied by geneticists. The comparison took place at 250,000 pre-selected locations in the genome.
The comparison allowed the authors to identify parts of the genome that may contain genes responsible for observed variations in a given trait such as flowering time.
Since the comparison does not guarantee that a gene causes a particular trait, any genes identified through genome-wide association need to be tested further. Team members now are studying about 60 previously unknown genes to confirm their predicted function.
“GWA mapping is a faster method for locating causal genes as the genes are located to a smaller region than previous mapping techniques I have used,” Atwell said. “Our data set does a good job of locating previously known ones, so we have confidence that the novel genes that are also identified will also be real.”
Atwell expects the study to become a major resource for the community of geneticists working on A. thaliana, which numbers about 5,000 laboratories worldwide.
The Nature study culminates years of work by scientists led by senior author Magnus Nordborg, formerly of the molecular and computational biology department at USC College and now based at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria.
“It’s been Magnus’ pet project for a very long time,” Atwell said.
Atwell’s co-first authors were her fellow postdoc Glenda Williams and USC graduate students Yu Huang and Bjarni Vilhjalmsson.
More than 30 other scientists contributed to the study, representing 10 institutions: the Keck School of Medicine of USC; the University of Chicago; Purdue University; the University of Sciences and Technologies in Lille, France; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; The Salk Institute for Biological Studies; the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England; the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany; Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich; and the Max Planck Institute in Tubingen, Germany.
The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health supported the research, with additional support from several institutions, agencies and foundations.
Carl Marziali | Newswise Science News
Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy