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A world first: the sequencing of two plant chromosomes

A breakthrough in a joint research project on plant genomes, carried out in laboratories in the European Union and the United States, may lead to positive benefits to human medicine.

Plants have many genes in common with humans and therefore the sequencing of the small annual...
A breakthrough in a joint research project on plant genomes, carried out in laboratories in the European Union and the United States, may lead to positive benefits to human medicine.

Plants have many genes in common with humans and therefore the sequencing of the small annual weed Arabidopsis's genome could be a major milestone. The publicly-funded project, with money from the EU, the US National Science Foundation and the Kazusa Institute in Japan, aims to complete the 134 million base-pair genome by the end of next year.

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said: 'This breakthrough confirms that 'added value' of European research and its key contribution to maintain and reinforce Europe's leading position in plant biotechnology.'

The international collaboration has already accumulated 103 million base pairs of DNA sequence, representing nearly 75% of the genome. Work on the remaining three chromosomes is expected to be completed by the summer of 2000.

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