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OSU helps decode strawberry genome in bid to improve fruit
Date:12/26/2010

liana, a small flowering plant in the mustard family, because it has only about 210 million base pairs, Mockler said. Base pairs are the molecules known as adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine that form a double-stranded DNA helix.

In addition to Mockler, the OSU part of the research was led by Pankaj Jaiswal, Aaron Liston, Sushma Naithani and Nahla Bassil, a plant geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture who holds a courtesy appointment at OSU. Jaiswal's lab assigned functions to about two-thirds of the strawberry's genes. Liston compared the chromosomal locations of 389 genes that the strawberry shares with peaches and found support for the hypothesis that the rose family originally had nine chromosomes. Naithani's lab predicted biochemical functions for various genes, and Liston and Bassil helped assemble the genome for the strawberry's chloroplasts, an organelle that makes sugar and starches through photosynthesis.

The strawberry work is just the latest advance in a series of genome sequencing projects at OSU. In collaboration with experts in other states, Mockler's lab is assembling the genome for the endangered snow leopard in a conservation effort aimed at improving captive breeding programs in zoos and restoring its numbers. His lab is also working with Bassil to sequence the genomes of three more kinds of strawberries as well as various varieties of apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries and black raspberries.

Mockler's lab is also sequencing the genomes of eight hazelnut varieties, a South American carnivorous plant known as Genlisea aurea, and duckweed, a tiny plant that looks like pond scum and may have potential as a source of biofuel.

Meanwhile, Liston is sequencing the genome for milkweed, and Jaiswal, who helped create a database of plant genomes, is trying to find genes that control flowering time in rice and corn.

Mockler was part of a global team that sequenced the genome of the wild grass
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Contact: Todd Mockler
tmockler@cgrb.oregonstate.edu
541-737-2940
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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