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Castor Bean Genome Published by Research Team Including Scientists from the Venter Institute
Date:8/22/2010

Genomics enables enhanced diagnostic and forensic methods for the detection of ricin and precise identification of strains and geographical origins. The team discovered that the ricin gene family was larger than previously thought, and they revealed approximately 28 genes in the ricin producing family.  As a next step, the group suggest further comparative genomic studies with the close relative cassava, a major crop in the developing world, to further elucidate their disease resistance aspects.

Dr. Chan stated, "The availability of the castor bean genome will encourage more research into the positive aspects of this oilseed crop as a potential biofuel. Further study will also elucidate many aspects about ricin and enable researchers to potentially eliminate the bioterrorism threat of this natural toxin."  

Other organizations involved in the research were: Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, Crop Improvement and Utilization, Albany, CA; Center for Plant Science Innovation and Department of Biochemistry, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Oyo State, Ibadan, Nigeria; Institut fur Mikrobiologie und Genetik, Abteilung Bioinformatik, Universitat Gottingen, Gottingen, Germany; the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Cambridge MA; and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

This research was funded through a contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; a Federal Bureau of Investigation grant; and a National Science Foundation grant DBI 0701919 to EBC.

About the J. Craig Venter Institute


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