Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sequencing hundreds of chloroplast genomes now possible

New method allows plant biologists to 'capture' and sequence the DNA of hundreds of complete chloroplast genomes at 1 time

Researchers at the University of Florida and Oberlin College have developed a sequencing method that will allow potentially hundreds of plant chloroplast genomes to be sequenced at once, facilitating studies of molecular biology and evolution in plants.

The chloroplast is the compartment within the plant cell that is responsible for photosynthesis and hence provides all of the sugar that a plant needs to grow and survive. The chloroplast is unusual in containing its own DNA genome, separate from the larger and dominant genome that is located in every cell's nucleus.

Chloroplast DNA sequences are widely used by plant biologists in genetic engineering and in reconstructing evolutionary relationships among plants. Until recently, though, chloroplast genome sequencing was a costly and time-intensive endeavor, limiting its utility for plant evolutionary and molecular biologists. Instead, most researchers have been limited to sequencing a small portion of the chloroplast genome, which in many cases is insufficient for determining evolutionary relationships, especially in plant groups that are evolutionarily young.

In contrast, complete chloroplast genome sequences harbor enough information to reconstruct both recent and ancient diversifications. New DNA sequencing technologies, termed "next-generation" sequencers, have made it considerably cheaper and easier to sequence complete chloroplast genomes. While current methods using next-generation sequencers allow up to 48 chloroplast genomes to be sequenced at one time, the new method will allow potentially hundreds of flowering plant chloroplast genomes to be sequenced at once, significantly reducing the per-sample cost of chloroplast genome sequencing.

This new method, reported in the February issue of Applications in Plant Sciences (available for free viewing as part of the February Issue in Progress at, relies on efficient separation of chloroplast DNA from other DNA in the cell using short DNA "baits" that were designed from chloroplast genomes that have already been sequenced. These molecular baits effectively concentrate the chloroplast DNA before sequencing (a process termed "targeted enrichment"), dramatically increasing the number of samples that can be sequenced at once.

Greg Stull, a graduate student at the University of Florida and lead author of the study, summarizes the versatility of the new system: "With this method, it should be possible for researchers to cheaply sequence hundreds of chloroplast genomes for any flowering plant group of interest."

The method was specifically designed by the authors of the study such that almost any flowering plant chloroplast genome can be sequenced, regardless of species. Flowering plants represent the largest (~300,000 species) and most ecologically dominant group of land plants, and include all major crop plants.

Applications in Plant Sciences (APPS) is a monthly, online-only, peer-reviewed, open access journal focusing on new tools, technologies, and protocols in all areas of the plant sciences. It is published by the Botanical Society of America (, a non-profit membership society with a mission to promote botany, the field of basic science dealing with the study and inquiry into the form, function, development, diversity, reproduction, evolution, and uses of plants and their interactions within the biosphere. The first issue of APPS published in January 2013; APPS is available as part of BioOne's Open Access collection (

For further information, please contact the APPS staff at

Beth Parada | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes
07.10.2015 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

nachricht Flipping molecular attachments amps up activity of CO2 catalyst
06.10.2015 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

Im Focus: High-speed march through a layer of graphene

In cooperation with the Center for Nano-Optics of Georgia State University in Atlanta (USA), scientists of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have made simulations of the processes that happen when a layer of carbon atoms is irradiated with strong laser light.

Electrons hit by strong laser pulses change their location on ultrashort timescales, i.e. within a couple of attoseconds (1 as = 10 to the minus 18 sec). In...

Im Focus: Battery Production: Laser Light instead of Oven-Drying and Vacuum Technology

At the exhibition BATTERY + STORAGE as part of WORLD OF ENERGY SOLUTIONS 2015 in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS will be showing how laser technology can be used to manufacture batteries both cost- and energy-efficiently.

In the truest sense, it’s all about watts at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS and the Aachen-based Fraunhofer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

07.10.2015 | Life Sciences

Research on clean diesel engine technology: Reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and consumption

07.10.2015 | Machine Engineering

Graphene teams up with two-dimensional crystals for faster data communications

06.10.2015 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>