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Mapping a model: International research on plant species appears in journal Nature
Date:9/1/2011

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- Two Kansas State University researchers have been collaborating on an international project involving genomes of a model plant species that can offer insights into other plants.

Christopher Toomajian, assistant professor of plant pathology, and Katie Hildebrand, doctoral student in plant pathology, Stafford, are researching genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant that has a short life cycle, making it one of the best model species for scientific study.

For some of their latest research, they have worked with researchers from the University of Utah, the United Kingdom and Germany. Their collaborative work, titled "Multiple reference genomes and transcriptomes for Arabidopsis thaliana," appears online in the journal Nature and focuses on the sequencing and analysis of Arabidopsis genomes.

By knowing the genetic makeup of a model species like Arabidopsis, researchers can better understand how other plants work and behave.

"It's part of a much greater understanding of how genomes function in plants and the relevance of differences in individuals of the same species," Toomajian said.

The article is twofold: It includes data from the United Kingdom researchers who have sequenced 18 genomes of Arabidopsis. But it also includes analysis from the other groups, including the Kansas State University researchers, who looked at transcription data -- data that shows where in the genome DNA is converted into RNA so that it can be expression as a functional protein in the plant.

The genome for Arabidopsis thaliana was sequenced in 2000, making it the first plant to have its genome sequenced.

"People working with Arabidopsis have been way ahead of the game in the sense that we have had, at least for one individual plant, the whole genome for more than 10 years and we have been able to pre
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Contact: Christopher Toomajian
toomajia@k-state.edu
785-532-0879
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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