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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #420257


Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this research is to analyze data obtained from 454 sequencing technologies (performed through an RSA with University of Illinois Biotechnology Center (UIBC) on several diverse nursery crops. This data will be used to develop molecular markers, understand taxonomic relationships and evolutionary history, and to mine for viruses of concern in ornamental plants.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Sequencing data will be obtained from the UIBC 454-Titanium platform from several grass species (for comparative genomics), crapemyrtle, elm, redbud, hackberry, and ash (for marker development or mining for genes related to stress tolerance). In addition, data from at least one taxa that has a high likelihood of harboring viruses of concern (such as beautyberry), and data from a plant pathogenic fungus (Rhizoctonia) may be included. Students, postdocs, and or faculty at the Cooperators facility who have experience and expertise in bioinformatics and comparative genomics will help to analyze this data, as well as compare this data to sequence data acquired from other sources (GenBank, other sequencing projects).

3. Progress Report
Cercis chinensis is a species of redbud that is becoming increasingly popular in the landscape. An understanding of its genome and the identification of molecular markers will assist in breeding new cultivars. This project has two objectives: 1) Assemble the partial genome of Cercis chinensis using data from a 454 DNA sequencer; and 2) Identify molecular markers from this partial preliminary genome, ie, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). DNA sequence reads from the Cercis chinensis genome (454 DNA sequencer) were obtained, and assembled using the Abyss assembler as well as a second sequence assembler, CAP3, independently. An Entrez search of the results on the NCBI website for the Cercis chinensis revealed no records for the genome, three hits on the Protein database records, and 15 hits on the Nucleotide database records. The database search also revealed no SNPS for Cercis chinensis. A BLAST analysis of the assembled contigs from CAP3 for the dissimilar database provides results with apparent identities. However, running a BLAST analysis with a database of very similar species does not provide any similarity. Using the program RepeatMasker revealed that the genome contains retro-elements of about 1603 elements, 1578 LTR elements and 335 DNA transposons. Future plans call for identifying SNPs by comparing different species of same genus. Additional bioinformatic tools and aligners such as Glimmer and Bowtie are useful for verifying and determining variations within the sequences. Bowtie alignments can help identify variations within the genomes and aid in the identification of SNPs, and leading to the discovery of markers. Glimmer will be used to identify coding and noncoding DNA regions, which will help identify certain target regions for marker identification. Research activities conducted under this agreement were monitored by regular email communication, submission of reports by the cooperator, and by visits by the cooperator and grad students.

4. Accomplishments