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Crop Biotech Update

Arabidopsis Genome Gets an Overhaul

June 26, 2009

Arabidopsis thaliana, a ubiquitous weed related to broccoli and mustard, has emerged as a powerful tool for research in plant molecular biology and genetics. Although it has little agricultural importance, Arabidopsis has several advantages that made it the model for understanding the biology of important crops. Its entire genome  consists of a small set of genes, many of which have functional analogs in plants with much larger genomes. The complete genome sequence along with gene structure, genome map and physical markers of this model plant reside in a database dubbed the Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR). Recently, the TAIR group released a new version of the genome sequence of Arabidopsis, which includes an array of improvements and novel features.

The new TAIR9 genome release contains detailed information on all 33,518 genes that make up the tiny plant. The TAIR team, based at the Carnegie Institution for Science in California, has made extensive updates to the genome sequence based on new sequence data submissions. "We now have a ranking system that provides a measure of our confidence that the structure of a specific gene is correct," explained TAIR head Eva Huala. Huala and colleagues have also overhauled information on pseudogenes - genes that have lost their protein coding ability.

For more information, read http://www.ciw.edu/news/midget_plant_gets_makeover and http://www.arabidopsis.org/news/news.jsp Visit TAIR at http://www.arabidopsis.org/