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EST-based overview of transcript present in infective juveniles of the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita

Expressed sequence tags (EST) have been widely used to assist in gene discovery in various organisms (e.g., Arabidopsis thaliana, Caenorhabditis elegans, Mus musculus, and Homo sapiens). In this paper we describe an EST project, which aims to investigate gene expression in Meloidogyne incognita at the onset of parasitism.

Approximately 1000 50-end sequence tags were produced from a cDNA library made of freshly hatched preparasitic second stage juveniles (J2). The EST were identifed in the primary transformants of the cDNA library, and assigned to nine different functional groups, including (candidate) parasitism genes.

A large fraction of the EST (45%) did not have a putative homologue in public databases. Sixty five percent of the EST that could be clustered into a functional group had putative homologues in other nematode species. EST was found for virtually all parasitism related genes that have been cloned from M. incognita to date.

In addition, several novel genes were tagged, including a xylanase and a chitinase gene. The efficiency of EST projects, which produce sequence data for thousands of genes in a month¿s time without any difficult pre-selections of mRNA pools, makes random sequencing cDNA libraries a superior method to identify candidates for parasitism related genes in plant-parasitic nematodes. The sequences in this paper are retrievable from Genbank with the accession numbers BE191640 to BE191741, BE217592 to BE217720, BE225324 to BE225598, BE238852 to BE239221, and BE240829 to BE240865.

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