NEW YORK, April 1 - The emerging field of paleontonomics reached an important milestone today with the first release of the draft sequence of the Tyrannosaurus rex genome.
The T. rex International Paleontonomics Experiment (TrIPE), based at the Sanger Institute in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK, today announced that it had assembled and deposited into public databases "the genetic blueprint for the most important of the dinosaurs used in genetics today."
The TrIPE consortium sequenced the genome of dinosaur remains uncovered a year ago in building excavations at the Hinxton campus using the newly developed Glycosylated Endonuclease Sequencing Strategy (GESS). "Using only GESS work, we can sequence a genome in a mere fraction of the time previously required," said a TriPE spokesman. "One of our workers accidentally trod some sawdust on Saturday morning into the lab where the technology was developed, and by the end of the weekend we had the full genome to the giant sequoia."
The consortium said it is seeking world-wide patent rights to the sequence of any organisms sequenced by the technique.
Early analysis of the genome has uncovered several novel genes, including the TARPT gene, associated with a susceptibility to falling into bitumen; shortarm1a and shortarm1b, responsible for left and right arm truncation, respectively; TINYTINYBRAIN.01, a variant of SMALLBRAIN1; and STOMP, identified by QTLs of stomping vs. non-stomping dinosaurs.
The full T. rex sequence is available via the Ensembl genome browser.