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JGI announces community sequencing program portfolio

WALNUT CREEK, CA--Despite the perception that the genetic diversity among animals--ranging from humans to worms--is enormous, the reality is that it pales in comparison to the diversity between the microbes that make up the bulk of the biomass on the planet.

Accordingly, to close conspicuous gaps in our understanding of the tree of life, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) announces a heavy emphasis on microbes making up the list of organisms that will stoke the DNA sequencing engine of its Community Sequencing Program (CSP) over the coming year.

"The CSP selections represent a rich collection of microorganisms as well as higher plants and animals that inhabit both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems," says Eddy Rubin, JGI Director. "By making JGI's powerful resources available to non-traditional end-users of sequence through the CSP we hope to advance knowledge across such vital topics as alternative energy production and bioremediation, and to address important questions of evolution and development."

Supported by the DOE's Office of Science, the CSP will allocate roughly 15 gigabases (billions of letters of genetic code) of sequencing--roughly 50 percent of JGI's total capacity--for the 23 projects selected from nearly 60 submitted earlier this year.

Among the larger organisms queuing up at the 100 sequencers at JGI's Production Genomics Facility is the moss Physcomitrella patens, which has a genome size of just over half a billion bases. "Physcomitrella is a wonderful model system in that it is small, grows quickly, and is very amenable to comparative studies," says Brent D. Mishler, Director, University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. "Human comparative genomics has benefited from having a series of genome projects along the tree of life--mouse, puffer fish, fruit fly, worm--while plant genomics has suffered since only a closely related cluster of cereals and the mustar
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
24-Aug-2004


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