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New Science Study Results Reported from Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)

February 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Science Letter -- Investigators discuss new findings in Science. According to news reporting originating from Barcelona, Spain, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, "Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) is an important crop of temperate climates which provides nearly 30% of the world's annual sugar production and is a source for bioethanol and animal feed. The species belongs to the order of Caryophylalles, is diploid with 2n=18 chromosomes, has an estimated genome size of 714-758 megabases(1) and shares an ancient genome triplication with other eudicot plants(2)."

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), "Leafy beets have been cultivated since Roman times, but sugar beet is one of the most recently domesticated crops. It arose in the late eighteenth century when lines accumulating sugar in the storage root were selected from crosses made with chard and fodder beet(3). Here we present a reference genome sequence for sugar beet as the first non-rosid, non-asterid eudicot genome, advancing comparative genomics and phylogenetic reconstructions. The genome sequence comprises 567 megabases, of which 85% could be assigned to chromosomes. The assembly covers a large proportion of the repetitive sequence content that was estimated(4) to be 63%. We predicted 27,421 protein-coding genes supported by transcript data and annotated them on the basis of sequence homology. Phylogenetic analyses provided evidence for the separation of Caryophyllales before the split of asterids and rosids, and revealed lineage-specific gene family expansions and losses. We sequenced spinach (Spinacia oleracea), another Caryophyllales species, and validated features that separate this clade from rosids and asterids. Intraspecific genomic variation was analysed based on the genome sequences of sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima; progenitor of all beet crops) and four additional sugar beet accessions. We identified seven million variant positions in the reference genome, and also large regions of low variability, indicating artificial selection."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "The sugar beet genome sequence enables the identification of genes affecting agronomically relevant traits, supports molecular breeding and maximizes the plant's potential in energy biotechnology."

For more information on this research see: The genome of the recently domesticated crop plant sugar beet (Beta vulgaris). Nature, 2014;505(7484):546-549,194-205. Nature can be contacted at: Nature Publishing Group, Macmillan Building, 4 Crinan St, London N1 9XW, England. (Nature Publishing Group - www.nature.com/; Nature - www.nature.com/nature/)

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting J.C. Dohm, ICREA, Barcelona 08010, Spain. Additional authors for this research include A.E. Minoche, D. Holtgrawe, S. Capella-Gutierrez, F. Zakrzewski, H. Tafer, O. Rupp, T. Sorensen, R. Stracke, R. Reinhardt, A. Goesmann, T. Kraft, B. Schulz, P.F. Stadler, T. Schmidt, T. Gabaldon, H. Lehrach, B. Weisshaar and Him (see also Science).

Keywords for this news article include: Spain, Europe, Science, Barcelona

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Source: Science Letter


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