The Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing Project (SUGSP) Consortium, led by the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM-HGSC) in Houston, announced today the decoding and analysis of the genome sequence of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.
The results are presented in the Nov. 10 issue of the journal Science, and 41 companion manuscripts describing further detailed analyses are contained in that journal and in a special issue of the journal Developmental Biology, appearing on Dec.1, 2006.
The genome of a male California purple sea urchin was sequenced, which contained more than 814 million DNA "letters," spelling out 23,300 genes. Nearly 10,000 of the genes were scrutinized by an international consortium of 240 scientists from more than 70 institutions in 11 countries. The sequence covers more than 90 percent of the genome.
The BCM-HGSC generated the sequence data for the SUGSP, then assembled the genome and led the analysis consortium. Additional resources for the project included a BAC library (clones with very large pieces of DNA) prepared at the California Institute of Technology and a physical map prepared at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver.
The project was led by Erica Sodergren and George Weinstock, a team at the BCM-HGSC, along with Richard Gibbs, director of the BCM-HGSC, and Eric Davidson and Andrew Cameron of the California Institute of Technology. The National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health provided funding for the SUGSP, with the National Science Foundation (NSF) also a supporter.
"Unraveling the sea urchin genome has yielded striking similarities and surprising differences between sea urchins and humans," said Judith Venuti, program director in NSF's Integrative Organismal Biology Division.