The combination of climate change, rapidly growing population, and urbanization are creating tremendous stress on the planet’s ability to provide enough food for everyone. A better understanding of how plants grow, develop and reproduce at the basic level will be critical for addressing this challenge. Understanding the genomes of plants will play a critical role in achieving these goals.
Plant genomes, especially those of crop plants, are incredibly complex compared to the genomes of the most animals. For instance the genome of wheat is about six times the size the human genome. The reasons for this are an interesting question but of broader importance is the unique challenge this presents to genome scientists trying to understand the genomes.
We have been active participants in plant genomics since the field began with the sequencing of the first plant genome, Arabidopsis thaliana, which we participated in. We are currently working to develop better tools to sequence these complex genomes and understand their content and implementing these new techniques on the genomes of a variety of plants. Most of our efforts are on the varieties of genomes known as the cereals which include rice, corn and wheat. We also participated in a large number of other plant genome projects. These are depicted in the list below.
Plant genomes we have studied:
• Arabidopsis thaliana
• Theobroma cacao
• Brassica oleracea
• Medicago truncatula
• genus Saccharum
• Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan)
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The Tomato Genome Consortium, (2012) The tomato genome sequence provides insights into fleshy fruit evolution. Nature, 485(7400) pp. 635-41.
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International Rice Genome Sequencing Project, (2005) The map-based sequence of the rice genome. Nature, 436(7052) pp. 793-800.
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