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US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute announces new genome sequencing projects
Date:7/2/2008

WALNUT CREEK, CAIn the continuing effort to tap the vast, unexplored reaches of the earth's microbial and plant domains for bioenergy and environmental applications, the DOE Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has announced its latest portfolio of DNA sequencing projects that it will undertake in the coming year. The 44 projects, culled from nearly 150 proposals received through the Community Sequencing Program (CSP), represent over 60 billion nucleotides of data to be generated through this biodiversity sampling campaignroughly the equivalent of 20 human genomes.

"The scientific and technological advances enabled by the information that we generate from these selections promise to take us faster and further down the path toward clean, renewable transportation fuels while affording us a more comprehensive understanding of the global carbon cycle," said Eddy Rubin, DOE JGI Director. "The range of projects spans important terrestrial contributors to biomass production in the Loblolly pinethe cornerstone of the U.S. forest products industryto phytoplankton, barely visible to the naked eye, but no less important to the massive generation of fixed carbon in our marine ecosystems."

With new sequencing strategies coming on line at DOE JGI's Production Genomics Facility in Walnut Creek, Calif., Rubin said that the once daunting genome size of the Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)over 21 billion basesis now becoming tractable. Loblolly pine is the most commonly planted tree species in America accounting for about 75 percent of all seedlings planted each year.

"Its ability to efficiently convert CO2 into biomass and its widespread use as a plantation tree have also made Loblolly a cost-effective feedstock for cellulosic biofuel production and a promising tool in efforts to curb greenhouse gas levels through carbon sequestration," said Rubin. Because of the pine's enormous genome, the project will begin with a targeted effort to understand the stru
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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