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

dict 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
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Contact: Christopher Toomajian
toomajia@k-state.edu
785-532-0879
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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