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Ceres and TIGR to Collaborate on Analysis of Arabidopsis Genes

NEW YORK, Dec 19 – The Institute for Genomic Research and Ceres have teamed up to map the structure of genes and their encoded proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana .

This announcement comes just six days after the multinational Arabidopsis Genome Initiative announced it had completed the sequence of this fast-growing plant, the first such sequence in the plant kingdom.

Although the scientists involved in this project hailed the Arabidopsis as the most complete genome so far sequenced, this project did not pinpoint boundaries and structures of single genes, according to Ceres.

Ceres, a Los Angeles agricultural biotechnology company, has meanwhile sequenced over ten thousand plant genes from Arabidopsis and other plants. Under this agreement, Ceres is making this data partially available to TIGR to annotate the Arabidopsis genome.

" Ceres' large database of full-length cDNA sequences and leading bioinformatics software have produced very important information on the structure of genes in chromosomal DNA,” Richard Flavell, the chief scientific officer of Ceres, said in a statement. “Given the importance of Arabidopsis to the scientific community and to the future of agricultural research worldwide, we are willing to have a portion of this proprietary information made available to all.”

Arabidopsis is already being used in plant genomics research to test different genetic modifications to plants with potential agricultural value. In some ways, however, it is still a genomic black box.

" One of the limiting factors in precisely identifying gene boundaries and exon-intron structure in genomic DNA is the lack of supporting experimental evidence,” said Flavell. “The data that Ceres is providing will greatly assist us in providing accurate annotation for many Arabidopsis genes to the scientific community."

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