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International Team Completes Draft Sequence of Potato Genome

Potatoes (Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

(Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

The Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium (PGSC), a global group of universities and research institutes, has published a draft sequence of the potato genome. Their work appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.

PGSC began in 2006 at Wageningen University & Research Centre in the Netherlands, and has grown to include 29 research groups in 14 countries. In late 2009, PGSC released a preliminary draft sequence of the potato genome. Since that time the PGSC refined the genome assembly, as well as further analysis and interpretation of the data.

The genome assembly covers about 95% of the genes in potato, and was made possible by advances in DNA sequencing technology over the past few years. The Beijing Genomics Institute also developed new software for this project.

Analysis of the genome sequence data revealed that the potato contains some 39,000 protein coding genes. The location on one of potato’s 12 chromosomes is now identified for more than 90% of the genes. The potato genome assembly and other resources are now available in the public domain.

PGSC says the potato is an important global food source, and after wheat and rice, considered the third most important food crop, with a world-wide production of 309 million tons in 2007. By 2020, the potato is expected to support more than two billion people worldwide  for food, feed, or income.

Read more: Dow, Wageningen to Collaborate on Potato Genome

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