Navigation Links
Mapping a model: International research on plant species appears in journal Nature

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 predict most of the genes and proteins that it codes for," Toomajian said. "What people have been doing in recent years is moving beyond just a single genome sequence, since one reference sequence can't accurately predict the consequences of all of the variations that you would find within a species."

Part of the research featured in the Nature article was the result of an ongoing National Science Foundation grant worth more than $700,000. Toomajian is a co-principal investigator along with University of Utah researcher Richard Clark. Hildebrand is helping with the research.

"I've always been interested in genetics as well as variation and expression, so I found this project very exciting," Hildebrand said.

As part of the project, Clark collects gene expression data from Arabidopsis plants and sends it to the group of Gunnar Ratsch at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Germany for analysis. Toomajian and Hildebrand have participated in the analysis of genome sequence data from collaborator Richard Mott, a researcher with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. The Kansas State University researchers have also worked to compare sequence variation data with the analyzed gene expression data.

Their work so far involving Arabidopsis seedlings is what appears in the Nature article. They now want to obtain similar gene expression data from Arabidopsis floral buds and roots so they can understand variation in gene expression in different plant tissues. Ultimately the team wants to see if gene expression patterns specific to different stages of plant growth, from seedlings to flowers and roots, are also variable within the species.

"People have started to realize that the differences within a species or changes that occur between species are often a lot more than just changes in protein sequences," Toomajian said. "Timing of these genes can also lead to lots of important functional changes in how the plants work and behave. We're trying to get to the bottom of the relevance of some of these differences in gene expression in a good model plant species."


Contact: Christopher Toomajian
Kansas State University

Related biology news :

1. Genomewide mapping reveals developmental and environmental impacts
2. UCLA scientists complete first mapping of molecule found in human embryonic stem cells
3. Mapping the brain: New technique poised to untangle the complexity of the brain
4. Participatory mapping workshops underway in Congo
5. New high-resolution carbon mapping techniques provide more accurate results
6. Mapping food deserts
7. Mapping human vulnerability to climate change
8. Carbon mapping breakthrough
9. Mapping out pathways to better soybeans
10. OBIS selects OpenGeo for Web-based geospatial mapping
11. Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/4/2015)... 2015 --> ... by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global ... - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to ... The market is estimated to expand at a CAGR ... 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, ... for U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation ... and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the ... diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and other ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Munich, Germany ... Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye ... , so that they can be quantitatively analyzed ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s ... from mobile eye tracking videos created with SMI,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier ... models, has promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , ... the management team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: PLI) ... Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive Officer of ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference to be ... 2015. st , at 8.50am (ET) and ... the day. The presentation will be available live via a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 HemoShear ... on discovering drugs for metabolic disorders, announced today ... to its Board of Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins ... of Human Genome Sciences (HGS), and also served ... Jim Powers , Chairman and CEO ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... YORK , November 24, 2015 ... in a European healthcare ... which the companies will work closely together in identifying European ... unmet medical need. The collaboration is underpinned by a significant ... fund. This is the first investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: