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January 12th, 2010:

Strawberry Genome Sequenced (Correction included)

After already needing to correct this post, I must now invalidate the whole thing. Seems I’ve been taken in by a premature press release that was turned into reliable sounding articles on news sites and was then picked up by blogs like mine that took the those sites to be credible sources. It’s a big mess. ::sigh::

Among the many things I’m currently missing at the Plant and Animal Genome conference, in addition to an update on the banana genome I’ve just learned (thanks to Mary over at OpenHelix) that the sequencing of the woodland strawberry genome has been completed!

I don’t know yet if the sequence has been released to the public yet. Either way I can’t find the sequence so I can’t yet comment on the quality of the sequence, or any ancient duplications in the lineage (though we already know it must share the ancient hexaploidy of the rosids, possible all eudicots).

Wild diploid strawberry (left) and domesticated octoploid strawberry (right)

What we do know is that modern domesticated strawberries are octoploid, the result of two recent whole genome duplications, but the woodland strawberry doesn’t have any duplications modern enough to be obvious from cytogenetics, visually looking at chromosomes.

Sequencing a genome is a complicated process but it started out with the work of Janet Slovin, a USDA scientist who created the inbred line* used in sequencing and seems to be the front woman from the project (Janet was kind enough to comment and point out the original article was misleading on this point, check out the link she included as well!), she’s quoted in the linked article.
And if you know how I can get my hands on the sequence please PLEASE, drop me a line at jcs98 (at) jamesandthegiantcorn (dot) com.

Ideas on why plant genomes rule?

I’m considering starting a series on several ways that plant genomes can take more punishment than mammalian genomes and survive. Right now I can think of:

-Methylation knockouts

-Telomerase knockouts (for a few generations) and tissue culture for decades

-Whole genome duplications/and aneuploidy

Can you think of any other examples of things plant genomes can survive better than animal genomes? (Or counter examples of things that are horrible for plants but that animal genomes can shrug off without ill effects?).

I’m not asking anyone to do my research for me, I’ll track down the papers for myself. But in finding research results, like many things, knowning they’re there to be found is half the battle.