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

t ice age, the Arabidopsis plants have relatively uniform genomes. Moreover, these populations have an above-average number of mutations that cause disadvantages for the plant, since protein functions are changed. Normally, natural selection removes these mutations over time, but in young emigrant populations they are enriched through cases of random evolution. "Figuring out how the plants and their genomes adapt to their environment is like a puzzle," says Jun Cao. "We need to collect all the pieces, before we can fit them together." The scientists have managed to create a nearly complete catalog of the genome variation of a species.

But how do these variations interact at the molecular level and what changes do they cause in the gene products? The computational biologist Gunnar Rtsch from the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory examined these questions in detail in a second study together with his international colleagues. They analyzed 19 strains of Arabidopsis with a particularly large genetic variability. These 19 individuals formed the basis of an artificial population of several hundred strains, created through multiple crosses such that different genome segments were shuffled systematically. The resulting individuals are ideally suited for examining gene interactions. The scientists studied the genome segments using novel analysis methods of analysis and discovered in detail how DNA is read in detail and how the intermediate stage of protein production, the RNA, is produced.

The researchers obtained detailed insight into the altered gene products arising from the various genomic variants. Depending on the genomic context some gene segments were either shut down or reactivated. "We can find a surprising number of changes affecting a single gene. However, they are often compensated for and therefore often have no significant effect on the gene products," says Gunnar Rtsch about the new results. The concepts, methods and platforms dev
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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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