Menu
Biology articles
The Golden Goose Is Awarded
Salmonella Strain Spreads Alongside HIV
Fair Flu Viruses Closely Matched
Creative Emulsification
Inflammation for Regeneration
Editor's choice in microbiology
Debate Over Stem Cell Effectiveness
Editor's choice in molecular biology
Telomeres Affect Gene Expression
Re-sensitizing Resistant Bacteria
Vitamin C Slays TB Bacteria
Plant scientists, innovators
The First Plant Interactome
Plant RNAs Found in Mammals
Opinion: Beyond the Model
Sweet and Sour Science
Plant RNA Paper Questioned
Flower Barcodes
Microbial Perfume
How Plants Feel
New Databases Harvest a Rich Bounty of Information on Crop Plant Metabolism
Carnegie Institution for Science Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant
Genetically engineered trees could help restore devastated American chestnut
Evolution coup: study reveals how plants protect their genes
  Cucumber Genome Published
The genome of the cucumber has been sequenced by an international consortium led by Chinese and U.S. institutions, including the University of California, Davis. The annotated genome was published online Nov. 1 by the journal Nature Genetics.

The cucumber genome will give insight into the genetics of the whole cucurbit family, which includes pumpkins and squash, melon and watermelon, and will be a platform for research in plant biology, said William Lucas, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Plant Biology. Lucas helped develop and manage the project and is an author on the paper.

"This is going to help a large community of scientists -- we can now go 10 times faster than we could before," Lucas said.

Lucas studies the vascular transport systems, phloem and xylem, that plants use to move nutrients, minerals and signaling molecules throughout their tissues. Pumpkins and cucumber are model plants for studying vascular transport, because their vascular system is large and easy to access.

Lucas' research group has shown that plants use both proteins and RNA -- molecules copied or transcribed from DNA -- as signaling molecules that are transported around the plant through the phloem. These signals can affect plant growth, coordinate activity through the plant and help it fight infection. For example, in 2007 they showed that "florigen," the signal that tells the growing tips of plants to make flowers in response to seasonal changes, is a protein transmitted through the phloem.

The new study identified 800 phloem proteins in the cucumber genome. With the help of the genome data, researchers will be able to rapidly identify and characterize all the protein, RNA and other molecules in the phloem sap, Lucas said.

There are already indications that far more is going on in the phloem than anybody had previously expected, he said.

The study shows that five of the seven chromosomes in cucumber arose from 10 ancestral chromosomes shared with melon, and that gene-coding stretches of cucumber DNA share about 95 percent similarity to melon. Preliminary studies in Lucas' lab at UC Davis have established comparable similarity between cucumber and pumpkin.

The cucumber genome will also provide insights into traits such as disease and pest resistance, the "fresh green" odor of the fruit, bitter flavors, and sex expression -- how the plants form flowers and fruit.

The cucumber is the seventh plant to have its genome sequence published, following the well-studied model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the poplar tree, grapevine, papaya, and the crops rice and sorghum.

The sequencing effort, begun earlier this year, was coordinated by Professor Sanwen Huang of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science and included the Genome Center at the Beijing Genome Institute-Shenzhen and UC Davis as well as several laboratories in China and others in the U.S., Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia and South Korea.

Part of the effort relied on new methods developed by the Beijing Genome Institute to assemble short pieces of DNA, about 50 base pairs, into the sequence. The Beijing Genome Institute-Shenzhen can now sequence and assemble genomes much faster, and at lower cost, than previously possible, Lucas said.

"This will be the forerunner for many genomes done at a cost-effective rate," he said.
Plants Put Limit on Ice Ages
Carnegie donates landmark clones to biology
Plants on Steroids: Key Missing Link Discovered
Gene Function Discovery: Guilt by Association
Cracking the Plant-Cell Membrane Code
Private Support Helps Public Plant Research
Scientists Watch Cell-Shape Process for First Time
How plants choose their mates
Mastermind Steroid Found in Plants
Unlocking the secrets of a plant’s light sensitivity
Nailing down a crucial plant signaling system
What makes a plant a plant?
New component of a plant steroid-activated pathway discovered
Big Boost to Plant Research
The Heart of the Plant
New tool offers unprecedented access for root studies
Steroids control gas exchange in plants
Plant toughness: Key to cracking biofuels?
Amoeba may offer key clue to photosynthetic evolution
The future of plant science – a technology perspective
Plant research funding crucial for the future
Wolf B. Frommer Receives Bogorad Award for Excellence in Plant Biology
Lighting up the plant hormone “command system”
Plant organ development breakthrough
Breakthrough: How salt stops plant growth
New Cancer Diagnostic Technique Debuts
Plant Science Could Ease Global Food and Fuel Demands
Have you had your cereal today?
Menu
Researchers close in on engineering recognizable, drug-free Cannabis plant
UC Riverside Researchers Develop Genetic Map for Cowpea
New research shows how mobile DNA survives—and thrives—in plants, animals
Cucumber Genome Published
Structural study at EMBL reveals how plants respond to water shortages
“Safety Valve” Protects Photosynthesis from Too Much Light
Weeds Could Help To Feed The World
Antagonistic Genes Control Rice Growth
Making New Enzymes to Engineer Plants for Biofuel Production
Green Plant Transport Mystery Solved
Gene Discovery To Increase Biomass Needed For Green Fuel
Are genes our destiny?
New African cassava resists devastating viruses
Species richness and genetic diversity do not go hand in hand in alpine plants
Scientists discover how cancer may take hold
Green algae—the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
New Twist on Life’s Power Source
Controlling a sea of information
Plant Steroids Offer New Paradigm for How Hormones Work
Future of biology rests in harnessing data avalanche
Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman Receives Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal
Plant Scientists Participate in DOE Energy Frontier Research Center
Advance in understanding cellulose synthesis
Midget Plant Gets Makeover