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 genome of a male California purple sea urchin was sequenced, and it contained over 814 million letters, spelling out 23,300 genes. Nearly 10,000 of the genes were scrutinized by an international consortium of 240 scientists from over 70 institutions in 11 countries. The high quality "draft" sequence covers over 90 percent of the genome. The primary results are presented in the Nov. 10 issue of Science, and 41 companion manuscripts describing further detailed analyses are contained in Science and a special issue of Developmental Biology appearing on Dec. 1.
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 Drs. Erica Sodergren and George Weinstock, a husband and wife team at the BCM-HGSC, along with Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the BCM-HGSC, and Drs. Eric Davidson and Andrew Cameron of the California Institute of Technology. The National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health provided most of the funding for the SUGSP.
Sea urchins are echinoderms (Greek for spiny skin), marine animals that originated over 540 million years ago and include starfish, brittle stars, sea lilies, and sea cucumbers. Following the great extinction of animals 250 million years ago, the modern sea urchins emerged as dominant echinoderm species. The purple sea urchin emerged in the North Pacific
Contact: Ross Tomlin
Baylor College of Medicine