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BGI, China Partners to Sequence Orchids

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Chinese genomics and botany researchers will sequence and analyze the whole genome of one common variety of orchid, Phalaenopsis equestris, and the transcriptomes of ten other species from the orchid family, Tsinghua University said this week.

The research will be conducted by the Tsinghua University Graduate School at Shenzhen, the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, the National Orchid Conservation Center, the Beijing Genomics Institute – Shenzhen, and the Institute of Botany of CAS.

The university said that the sequencing and assembling of the draft sequence of the orchid genome will take around six months, and it expects the transcriptome for the ten other orchid species to be completed around the same time.

The researchers expect the genomic and transcriptomics data and analyses to "shed light on the genomic and genetic basis and molecular mechanisms underlying the biology, ecology, fascinating feature variations, unusual adaptations, and diverse evolution modes and pathways of orchids," Tsinghua said.

The Orchidaceae family includes more than 22,000 species of plants, which is around 10 percent of all flowering plants, the university said. It added that due to ecological deterioration, environmental changes, and human-caused disruptions, wild orchids are becoming endangered or extinct, and are now under protective laws, making them a plant kingdom version of the Giant Panda.

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