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DOE JGI Community Sequencing Program delivers first moss genome
Date:12/13/2007

WALNUT CREEK, CAMessages from nearly a half-billion years ago, conveyed via the inventory of genes sequenced from a present-day moss, provide clues about the earliest colonization of dry land by plants. The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) was among the leaders of an international effort uniting more than 40 institutions to complete the first genome sequencing project of a nonvascular land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens. The team's insights into the code that enabled this seminal emergence and dominance of land by plants are published December 13 online in Science Express.

The moss genome project, originally proposed by Brent Mishler of the University of California, Berkeley, and Ralph Quatrano of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), was enabled through DOE JGI's Community Sequencing Program (CSP). Other project leaders include DOE JGI's Jeffrey Boore, David Cove and Andrew Cuming of the University of Leeds (United Kingdom), Mitsuyasu Hasebe and Tomoaki Nishiyama of the National Institute for Basic Biology (Japan), and Ralf Reski of the University of Freiburg (Germany) with his associate Stefan Rensing, the paper's first author.

Physcomitrella is to flowering plants what the fruit fly is to humans; that is, in the same way that the fly and mouse have informed animal biology, the genome of this moss will advance our exploration of plant genes and their functions and utility, said Eddy Rubin, DOE JGI Director. Traits such as those that allow plants to survive and thrive on dry land, will be useful in the selection and optimization of crops that may be domesticated for biomass-to-biofuels strategies.

Physcomitrella, with a genome of just under 500 million nucleotides and possessing nearly 36,000 genes (about 50% more than are thought to be in the human genome), is the first bryophyte to be sequenced. Bryophytes are nonvascular land plants that lack specialized tissues (phloem or xylem) fo
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute  
Source:Eurekalert

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