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Core knowledge of tree fruit expands with apple genome sequencing
Date:8/29/2010

ch is why sequencing the human genome was such an important milestone. Or the trait might be for something desirable, like flavor in a piece of fruit. We are already working on finding physiological solutions to issues like bitter pit in current apple varieties with the gene-based information available to us and lay a foundation for improved varieties in the future through generation of sports (mutations) and breeding," Dhingra said.

The Washington state contribution to the sequencing work was a unique collaboration between the cross-state Apple Cup rivals of WSU and the University of Washington.

Microbiologist Roger Bumgarner's lab at the University of Washington provided the initial sequencing expertise and capability to the project, which was later complemented and replaced by sequencing expertise in the Dhingra genomics lab, who obtained the same DNA sequencing instrument used in Dr. Bumgarner's lab.

"UW is a world leader in medical research and WSU is a world leader in agricultural research," said Bumgarner. "Technological advancements and techniques initially used to study medically important genomes and problems can be rapidly applied to genomes and problems of agricultural importance. We both had something to contribute and to learn from one another. I think there are many more opportunities for such collaborations to develop in the coming years."

After the sequencing was completed, WSU computational biologist Ananth Kalyanaraman contributed to the analysis by comparing the apple genome with that of pear, peach and grape to identify the differences and commonalities that exist between these fruit crops.

While the apple genome provides a valuable resource for future research, one pressing question answered by the international team's paper in Nature Genetics was one of origin. Scientists have long wanted to know and have for years argued vehemently about the ancestor of the modern domesticated apple. The question i
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Contact: Brian Clark
bcclark@wsu.edu
509-715-9119
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert

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