Researchers Sequence Long Genomes of White Spruce and Norway Spruce

Posted on May 22, 2013

Researchers announced they have sequenced the long genomes of the White spruce and the Norway spruce. The genomes are ten times larger than the human genome. They each contain 20-30 billion base-pairs.

Prof. Steven Jones, senior author of the white spruce genome study, said in the announcement, "Attempting the sequencing of such a large genome was an incredibly ambitious task and required the development of novel software and innovative use of DNA sequence technology to piece together short DNA sequences to form this massive genome, much like a large jigsaw puzzle."

The genome sequences could lead to new tools for tree breeding. It could also help shorten the spruce breeding cycle. Prof. John MacKay of Universite Laval, a co-author of both studies, says, "A genome-based marker system could serve to reduce the time of a spruce breeding cycle from currently 25 to as short as five year."

The research was published here in the journal Nature and here in the Bioinformatics.

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