Cambridge, MA and Corvallis, OR, November 15, 2011 BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, announced today that it has entered an agreement with Oregon State University to conduct collaborative de novo genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis of nine Phytophthora plant pathogens. This agreement kicks off a larger collaborative project between BGI and the Phytophthora Genus Sequencing Consortium, to conduct collaborative de novo genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis of all known species of the Phytophthora genus of destructive plant pathogens. All in all, 150 genomes, together with 300 transcriptomes, will eventually be sequenced under this agreement. The consortium agreement was initiated by Oregon State's incoming Director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Brett Tyler, with the support of an Advisory Board of twelve Phytophthora experts from around the world.
Phytophthora is a genus of plant-damaging pathogens whose member species are capable of causing enormous economic losses to crops, forests and ornamental plantings worldwide, as well as environmental damage in natural ecosystems. The genus is responsible for the Irish potato famine. Approximately 120 species have been described so far, although many more undiscovered Phytophthora species are estimated to exist. In general, plant diseases caused by this genus are difficult to control chemically, and thus the growth of resistant cultivars is the main management strategy. Phytophthora pathogens cause tens of billions of US dollars of destruction each year.
Under the collaboration agreement, Oregon State researchers will provide BGI with the genomic DNA and RNA samples for analysis by next-generation sequencing technologies. The sequencing work will include sequencing and bioinformatics analysis, including de novo assembly, gene calling and functional annotation of called genes.
"We are excited t
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