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Comparative genomics holds great potential for improving agricultural varieties. This project uses emerging public resources from cereals as a focal point for its research activities into comparative genomics. One goal of the project is to identify synteny between the rice genome and other cereals for the purpose of bringing the knowledge learned from the completed rice genome sequence to other agriculturally important crops that are unlikely to be sequenced soon due to their large genomes. Project activities will include development of methods for annotating cereal sequences, development of methods for identifying syntenic regions in cereal genomes, creation of new genetic and physical markers, and public distribution of all these resources. Other components of this research program are directed toward understanding cereal biology, for example how cereal genomes evolve. Hence, another major thrust of the project is to search for functionally conserved sequences among cereal and non-cereal plant genomes. A subset of these conserved sequences will be experimentally validated to demonstrate the accuracy and feasibility of the methods. In aggregate, this will accelerate the rate of identification of important genotypes within the cereal community and aid in the development of new robust strains. The methods and software developed as part of this project will also be of use to the larger agricultural genomics community.
We will bring to bear methodologies from the rapidly expanding field of comparative genomics in order to add value to existing datasets and to develop new resources for agricultural science.
Objective 1: Identify regions of synteny among cereal genomes.
Objective 2: Identify conserved sequence in the emerging cereal genomes to identify non-annotated genes, regulatory elements, and conserved structural sequences of chromosomes.