Scientists sequence genome of the woodland strawberry, a model system for rosaceae plants


January 11, 2010
Health, Life & Non-humans, Uncategorized

The genome of a model plant related to peach, cherry and cultivated strawberry has been sequenced by a consortium of international researchers that includes scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The scientists announced the sequencing of the genome of woodland strawberry over the weekend at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego, Ca. The project was funded by Roche Diagnostics.

Fragaria vesca, commonly known as the woodland or alpine strawberry, is a member of the Rosaceae family, which consists of more than 100 genera and 3,000 species. This large family includes many economically important and popular fruit, nut, ornamental and woody crops, such as almond, apple, peach, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and rose.

F. vesca has many traits that make it an attractive model system for functional genomics studies. Its small size and rapid life cycle enable researchers to conduct genetic analyses with great efficiency and low cost. To determine the importance of a gene of interest, F. vesca can be transformed in order to modulate the activity of that gene in the plant. Most importantly, F. vesca has a relatively small genome, yet shares most gene sequences with other members of the Rosaceae family, making it an important tool for addressing questions regarding gene function.

ARS molecular biologist Janet Slovin, with the Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., created the nearly inbred line used in the F. vesca genome sequencing project. Named “Hawaii 4,” this line allowed the researchers to more easily program a computer to piece the genome together from the relatively short lengths of sequence data generated by modern sequencing machines.

Although the F. vesca genome is a model genome for the Rosaceae group, critical regulatory gene functions will probably differ, hypothesizes Slovin. Scientists can use the genome sequence to identify these genes, to test their function in F. vesca, and to develop molecular genetic markers for more rapid breeding of crops belonging to the Rosaceae group. Slovin will use the genome to study and improve heat tolerance during fruit production in strawberry.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The research supports the USDA priorities of promoting international food security and responding to climate change.

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Scientists sequence genome of the woodland strawberry, a model system for rosaceae plants

2 Responses to Scientists sequence genome of the woodland strawberry, a model system for rosaceae plants

  1. Anonymous January 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Contrary to the information posted in the article on January 11, 2010, the strawberry genome sequence has not been completed or released.

    The news release above was a premature and highly inaccurate dissemination from the USDA. The strawberry genome has not been published, it has not been released, and analysis is not complete.

    The genome of diploid strawberry (Fragaria vesca) will be sequenced and released in 2010. The effort was led by an international consortium representing over 40 institutions and the efforts of countless researchers. Details can be found at strawberry.vbi.vt.edu.

    A formal presentation of the current state of the draft sequence was presented by Dr. Vladimir Shulaev at the Plant Animal Genome Conference in San Diego on December 9th, 2010. This presentation was potentially misinterpreted as a formal announcement, and a conversation with a scientist on the project laced the above article with inaccurate interpretations.

    The draft sequence will be published shortly after complete analysis and peer review. The above article is not accurate in many facets and should not in any way be considered representative of the scientific efforts of the Strawberry Genome Sequencing Consortium.

    The work was also supported by many organizations in addition to Roche, with substantial financial and other commitments from sources including (but absolutely not limited to) Virginia Tech, IASMA Research Center (Italy) University of Florida, Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates, Plant and Food Research (New Zealand) and the USDA.

    A formal retraction of the initial press release is being pursued.

    Kevin M. Folta
    University of Florida, on behalf of Dr. Vladimir Shulaev and the Strawberry Genome Sequencing Consortium

  2. Anonymous January 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    The news release above was a premature dissemination from the USDA. The strawberry genome has not been published, it has not been released, and analysis is not complete.

    A formal presentation of the current state of the draft sequence was presented by Dr. Vladimir Shulaev at the Plant Animal Genome Conference in San Diego on December 9th, 2010. This presentation was potentially misinterpreted as a formal announcement, and a conversation with a scientist on the project laced the above article with inaccurate interpretations.

    The draft sequence will be published shortly after complete analysis and peer review. The above article is not accurate in many facets and should not be considered representative of the strawberry sequencing effort.

    The work was also funded by many sources in addition to Roche, including (but not limited to) Virginia Tech, University of Florida, Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates, Plant and Food Research (New Zeland) and the USDA.

    Kevin Folta
    University of Florida
    Strawberry Genome Sequencing Consortium

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