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1001 Genome-Project -- On the way to a complete catalog of the Arabidopsis genome
Date:8/28/2011

er with an international team, sequenced and analyzed the genome of different Arabidopsis strains from all over Europe and Asia. To reveal the effect of geographic distance on the genes they selected plants from strains growing locally -- in the Swabian Neckar Valley -- as well as plants growing at opposite ends of the plant's distribution area, such as North Africa or Central Asia.

By sequencing nearly 100 genomes of different strains, the scientists hope to obtain a fundamental scientific understanding of evolution. The resulting information should pave the way for a new era of genetics in which alleles underpinning phenotypic diversity across the entire genome and the entire species can be identified. The scientists have found that thousands of proteins differ in their structure and function in the different Arabidopsis strains. In addition, they found several thousand cases of extra copies of genes, gene loss, as well as new genes that were previously only found in other plant species. "Our results show very impressively just how pronounced the genetic variability is," says Jun Cao from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and first author of one of the projects. Karl Schmid of the University of Hohenheim adds: "Adaptation through new mutations is very rare. More important is the recombination of already existing variants. With the information from more than a hundred genomes, not only can we make statements about these hundred individuals, but have thus laid the foundations to predict the genetic potential which could be realized by crossing particular individuals."

The geneticists working with Detlef Weigel, Karsten Borgwardt and Karl Schmid also found that the level of genetic variation differs widely between different regions. The researchers found the greatest genetic diversity in the Iberian Peninsula, where the plants have existed for a very long time. In Central Asia, which was only colonized after the las
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Contact: Detlef Weigel
detlef.weigel@tuebingen.mpg.de
49-070-716-011-410
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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