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JGI Outlines '08 Sequencing Projects With Eye on Biofuel Production

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute on Friday said it plans to use the Community Sequencing Program in 2008 to focus its sequencing efforts on new plant and microbial targets that may be of use in developing alternative energies.
 
The sequencing targets JGI will take on in 2008 were chosen from 120 submissions and include the eucalyptus tree, foxtail millet, red algae, and “novel microbial communities,” the group said in a statement.
 
The largest of the 2008 endeavors will be the 600-million-nucleotide eucalyptus tree genome project. This project will be led by the University of Pretoria, and will include research conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Brazil’s Genetic Resources and Biotechnology entity.
 
The entire eucalyptus project will involve a consortium drawing information and expertise from “dozens of institutions and hundreds of researchers worldwide,” according to Jim Bristow, JGI deputy managing director and CSP manager.
 
"The biomass production and carbon sequestration capacities of eucalyptus trees match DOE's and the nation's interests in alternative energy production and global carbon cycling," Bristow said.
 
JGI said the second-largest 2008 project will be the foxtail millet, which is envisioned as a supplemental or replacement source of biofuel during droughts or in low-fertility soils.
 
JGI said the foxtail millet research will be conducted at the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, the University of Missouri, the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee.
 
The JGI also said it will begin sequencing the genome of the marine red alga Porphyra purpurea, which plays a “key role” in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
 
The fourth major undertaking will include eight eukaryotic projects that will use both traditional Sanger sequencing and next-generation pyrosequencing technology.
 
These projects will target Paxillus involutus; Phaeocystis phytoplankton; Tetrahymena thermophila; Agaricus bisporus; pine and conniver ESTs; and the soybean pathogen Heterodera glycines.
 
A complete listing of the CSP’s 2008 sequencing targets can be found here.

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