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A gluttonous plant reveals how its cellular power plant devours foreign DNA
Date:12/20/2013

rmony with Amborella but also parasites. By extension, the group of plant parasites that that drain resources from Amborella are representatives of the largest group that sap flowering plants worldwide. Another emphasis of the Plant Program is to understand healthy growth of candidate "biofuel crops" and the threats that plant pests present. The DOE JGI and its collaborators are building a compendium of gene annotation data sets that come to light through its collaborations and are made available through Phytozome and deposited into the DOE's Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase).

Sequencing the entire mitochondrial genome, initiated under the DOE JGI's Community Sequencing Program, was an effort that took eight years. To collect samples for study, researchers had to make the long trek to the only place the plant grows: Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia, a small nation 750 miles off the eastern coast of Australia.

Researchers' first attempts to sequence this DNA were not as productive as they had hoped. Although they were able to sequence the genes, the techniques they had to use to amplify the DNA didn't allow them to confidently construct a whole genome assembly. It meant going back to the drawing board and producing a second independent draft assembly of the genome, said Palmer. Indiana's Danny Rice, the paper's first author, then combined the two assemblies into a single, complete genome assembly.

"In short, getting a complete assembly of the Amborella mitochondrial genome took years and the effort of several people," said Palmer. "But it was well worth it, because the genome is so utterly unusual, amazing and full of surprises and mechanistic insights." The complete sequence was also necessary to rule out the possibility that any of the foreign DNA was the result of contamination
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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