Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sequencing thousand and one genomes

29.09.2008
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.

Original publication:
Stephan Ossowski, Korbinian Schneeberger, Richard M. Clark, Christa Lanz, Norman Warthmann, Detlef Weigel: Sequencing of natural strains of Arabidopsis thaliana with short reads. Genome Res. Published online September 25, 2008, 10.1101/gr.080200.108
Contact:
Prof. Dr. Detlef Weigel
Tel: +49 (0)7071-601-1410
E-mail: Detlef.Weigel@tuebingen.mpg.de
Dr. Susanne Diederich (Press and PR Department)
Tel: +49 (0)7071-601-333
E-mail: presse@tuebingen.mpg.de
The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology conducts basic research in the areas of biochemistry, genetics and evolutionary biology. It has some 325 employees and is located at the Max Planck Campus in Tuebingen, Germany. The MPI for Developmental Biology is one of 82 Institutes and research labs of the Max Planck Society for the Promotion of Science e.V.

Dr. Susanne Diederich | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Further information:
http://eb.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>