Physcomitrella Genome Expected to Provide Help with Global Climate Change
An international team of scientists has annotated all 32,275 genes of Physcomitrella patens, a moss sequenced by the DOE Joint Genome Institute that contains about 10,000 more genes than humans.
It is widely believed that the P. patens genome contains information that will help global environments cope with wide-scale climate change. Researchers in the study were able to provide a functional analysis of these genes.
P. patens has long been the experimental moss of choice for researchers around the world and was first sequenced by the JGI in 2007. The plant provides insights as to the mechanisms behind plant cell wall synthesis and assembly, mainly due to its accelerated life cycle that allows more comprehensive studies of such processes. In a study published July 23, 2013 in BMC Genomics, the international team – consisting of researchers from Germany, Belgium, and Japan – worked with the genes of what the JGI refers to as a “flagship genome,” a term meaning that sustained and significant computational and experimental resources are directed to this organism. By using the sequencing information from the JGI, the team was able to attribute functions and metabolisms to the P. patens genome.
“One of our intriguing findings is that 13 percent of the Physcomitrella genes have no clear relatives in any other sequenced organism so far. Analyzing these orphan genes more deeply will reveal the hidden treasures of the moss genome,” said the University of Freiburg Chair of Plant Biotechnology Ralf Reski, a senior coordinator on the study, in a statement. The moss genome data are available through the JGI plant portal Phytozome.
DOE Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research
German Research Foundation DFG
Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg
Zimmer AD et al. “Reannotation and extended community resources for the genome of thenon-seed plant Physcomitrella patens provide insights into the evolutionof plant gene structures and functions.” BMC Genomics Vol. 14 (2013) doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-498