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University of Arizona plant scientists to unravel maize genome

DNA. Only the gene-containing regions will then be sequenced in detail. This sequencing strategy enables the consortium to sequence the corn genome at a fraction of the cost that was necessary to decipher the human genome, which is only slightly larger than the corn genome.

"This grant reinforces the position of the UA as a world leader in plantgenomics," said Vicki Chandler, director of BIO5 and a Regents' Professor inthe department of plant sciences at the College of Agriculture and LifeSciences. "It further exemplifies our exceptionally competitive position inattracting national funding for key areas such as genomics -- an invaluableasset for Arizona's developing bioindustry."

Wing's team will take advantage of the state-of-the-art genomics facilities in the Thomas W. Keating Building, the future home of BIO5, scheduled for completion in spring 2006.

"The new building will offer the increased space we need to expand our laboratory facilities for the project," Wing said. "It will also allow us to enhance capacities for computation. BIO5 makes large-scale endeavors like this possible by investing heavily in bioinformatics."

Deciphering billions of letters of genetic code yields vast amounts of data, which have to be stored, accessed and interpreted. BIO5's capabilities in bioinformatics help scientists manage and analyze complex data.

The software used to generate the genetic map was developed by Carol Soderlund, who holds a research faculty position at BIO5 and in the department of plant sciences at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her computer program was used to build the physical maps of every large genome that has been sequenced to completion, including the human genome.

BIO5 is a collaborative bioresearch institute bringing together scientists from 5 disciplines--agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, basic science and engineering--to solve complex biological problems. BIO5 creates science, education
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Source:University of Arizona


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