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WUSTL researchers spearhead key genome initiative
Date:12/14/2007

The complete collection of genes the genome of a moss has been sequenced, providing scientists an important evolutionary link between single-celled algae and flowering plants.

Just as the sequencing of animal genomes has helped scientists understand human genomic history, the sequencing of plant genomes will shed light on the evolution of the plant kingdom, according to Ralph S. Quatrano, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and the corresponding author of the paper.

The accomplishment will "reveal insights into the conquest of land by plants," Quatrano says, including the identification of unique gene products and metabolic pathways as to how these diminutive plants protect themselves against stresses associated with living on land. The description of the genome is found in the Dec. 13, 2007, online issue of Science magazine.

The entire genome of the moss Physcomitrella patens was completed by scientists at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, Calif., a sequencing facility of the Department of Energy. The effort to derive the genetic nuts and bolts, or base pairs, of P. patens was coordinated by a consortium of international researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, and involved more than 100 scientists in the initial annotation of the genome.

Quatrano played a major role in facilitating and organizing the final assembly of the authors, annotators and writers of the manuscript. He also coordinated much of the international effort, as well as being the co-principal investigator with Brent Mishler, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley), on the initial request to the Community Sequencing Program of JGI.

Quatrano initiated some of the first sequences at Washington University's Genome Sequencing Center in 2002, efforts that came about from a subcontract between Washington University and Quatrano's co
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Contact: Ralph Quatrano
rsq@wustl.edu
314-935-6850
Washington University in St. Louis  
Source:Eurekalert

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WUSTL researchers spearhead key genome initiative
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