Navigation Links
Unique library of plant genes germinates, takes root at UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's newest "library" is not the kind that will entice an average book lover, but it eventually will please thousands of plant scientists around the world. Through such researchers' work, it will undoubtedly contribute to improving crops that humans around the planet depend on every day, its developers say.

Named Phytome, the unique library is a compilation of voluminous genetic data on 39 plant species. The list includes almost all the world's most valuable crops, among them rice, wheat, corn and potatoes.

"But it's also much more than just a repository of genetic information," said Dr. Todd J. Vision, assistant professor of biology in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences.

"It allows plant researchers to ask complex questions that involve comparisons across different genes and species, such as 'what genes with known function are related to this gene with unknown function?' or 'what biochemical functions have been gained or lost in different species,'" Vision said.

Answers to those kinds of questions will lead to plants that yield more food and resist damage from diseases and insects more successfully, he said. They also can lead to better and cheaper medicines and plant products like cotton, paper and rubber.

"A persistent challenge of genomics is how to capture, analyze and distribute the massive amounts of data being churned out at record levels from ongoing genome projects," he said. "Creating useful and accessible tools like this is critical to the field. Even if researchers have access to all the genomic data and all the methods necessary to analyze it, it takes a lot of human and computer effort to put those two things together in one user-friendly package like Phytome."

Phytome went online at www.phytome.org in the fall after two years work and already is being used by basic and applied scientists worldwide. The first version of the database contains information on more than 730,000 unique protein sequences in more than 25,000 protein families.

Analysis of that data required 460 days of computer processing time, but it was condensed into a few short weeks by use of parallel computing, Vision said.

Currently, scientists know the complete genetic makeup of only a handful of plants although humans are economically dependent on dozens of different ones, he said. It would be far too expensive and time-consuming, however, to characterize the genomes of all of them experimentally.

"Many plants are impractical to work with experimentally because they have genomes full of material that serves no known function," Vision said. "For example, the lily genome is roughly 40 times the size of the human genome."

Nevertheless, the gene content of lilies can be predicted reasonably well by looking at a related plant with a small genome, like rice, he said. To breed better crops, it's important to be able to leverage the information from the tractable model systems that scientists already know so much about.

"We will continue to add new features to Phytome over the next few years," Vision said. "Perhaps the most important will be the ability to compare the genetic maps of multiple species simultaneously and predict the gene content in regions of plant genomes that have not yet been deciphered."

Besides Vision, others involved in the development of Phytome are Dr. Stefanie Hartmann, a postdoctoral researcher in biology; Dihui Lu, a graduate student in information and library science; and computer programmer Jason Phillips.

The National Science Foundation is supporting the project with a five-year, $1 million grant it awarded to UNC in 2002.

"This is a unique resource for scientists trying to understand the genes contributing to variation in traits of economic importance in crops," Vision said.


'"/>

Source:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Related biology news :

1. Breast Cancer May Be Uniquely Sensitive To Inhibitors Of PI3K Pathway
2. Invitrogen Launches i-Path -- A Unique Systems Biology Platform at BIO 2005
3. Uniquely human component of language found in gregarious birds
4. Unique equine cataract surgery offered on routine basis
5. Unique dual target specificity of kinase inhibitor key for success against cancer
6. Unique soybean lines hold promise for producing allergy-free soybeans
7. Unique gene regulation gives chilly bugs survival advantage at bottom of the world
8. Unique tomatoes tops in disease-fighting antioxidants
9. Free access to a digital library for developing countries
10. Bacteria could make new library of cancer drugs that are too complex to create artificially
11. Finding the right mix: A biomaterial blend library
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/10/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced ... testing its biometric identity solution at the Otay Mesa border ... identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies in ... until May 2016. --> the United States ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... Nigeria . Recently, ... 23,000 public service employees either did not exist with ... unlawfully.    --> Nigeria . ... than 23,000 public service employees either did not exist ... salary unlawfully.    --> DERMALOG, the biometrics ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... March 8, 2016   Valencell , the ... announced it has secured $11M in Series D ... a new venture fund being launched by UAE-based ... from existing investors TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua ... continue its triple-digit growth and accelerate its pioneering ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Lamka will assist PathSensors in expanding the use ... , PathSensors deploys the CANARY® test platform for the detection of harmful pathogens, ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group and the University of ... research and development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management for 2016 – 2020. ... executives began meeting to establish a working agenda and foster initiatives to promote stem ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cameron ... LLP as an associate in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. , Clients ... electromechanical patent applications. He has an electrical engineering and computer engineering background, and ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... ... announces the latest technology innovation for its Volume Pattern Generator (VPG) line of ... production of advanced photomasks as well as a solution for mid volume direct ...
Breaking Biology Technology: