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Eurofins to Sequence Ash Genome for Queen Mary Tree Disease Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Eurofins MWG Operon and Queen Mary, University of London have inked an agreement to cooperate in studying the genome of the ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior), with the goal of learning more about resistance to a widespread fungal tree disease.

Under the agreement, Eurofins will sequence ash samples in an effort to understand how some ash trees are able to resist ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus), which is spread across northern Europe and has been found in over 300 locations in the UK.

Ebersberg, Germany-based Eurofins said late last week that it will sequence the 900 megabase genome using both the Roche/454 FLX system and Illumina's HiSeq 2000/2500 high-throughput systems, which will be supplemented by sequencing of Illumina's shotgun libraries with different fragment sizes.

The samples will be provided by Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences from tree materials provided by Earth Trust, an Oxfordshire, UK-based non-profit focused on forestry, farming, and sustainability and conservation issues. Eurofins said these samples have already cleared the first quality control steps, and the company is already planning to start the sequencing runs using the GS FLX.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

As GenomeWeb Daily News reported last week, the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council provided £2.4 million ($3.6 million) to fund a similar but separate effort, under which a group called the Nornex Consortium will conduct sequencing and analysis of the ash dieback fungal genome and analyze the ash tree to learn about its resistance properties.

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