Biotech Updates

Scientists Sequence Sugar Beet Genome

January 8, 2014

A team of researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain; the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG), the Department of Vertebrate Genomics (H. Lehrach), and the University of Bielefeld in Germany; together with other partners from academia and the private sector has sequenced and analyzed for the first time the sugar beet's genome.

Sugar beet is the first representative of a group of flowering plants called Caryophyllales, comprising 11,500 species, which has its genome sequenced. This group encompasses other plants of economic importance, like spinach or quinoa, as well as plants with an interesting biology, for instance carnivorous plants or desert plants. 27,421 protein-coding genes were discovered within the genome of the beet, more than are encoded within the human genome. The researchers speculate that beets may harbor so far unknown genes involved in transcriptional control, and gene interaction networks may have evolved differently in sugar beet compared to other species.

See the Max Planck Institute's news release at