Seminar, 25 June 2013, L. Gramzow

25 June 2013, 16:15
Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3, seminar room 309

The obese genome of a slim tree – Analyzing the 20 Gbp genome of Norway spruce

Dr. Lydia Gramzow (FSU Jena, Department of Genetics)

The molecular mechanisms driving the evolution of complex multicellular organisms and the diversification of their body plans are still poorly understood. Whole genome sequence data greatly facilitate the study of these mechanisms, but sequence information for some important eukaryotic groups is still missing. Land plants, for example, evolved from unicellular green algae, where bryophytes evolved first, followed by lycophytes, ferns and allies, gymnosperms and finally flowering plants. While whole genomes have been sequenced for bryophytes, lycophytes and flowering plants, this information is still missing for ferns and allies and gymnosperms, hindering the understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind the evolution of the seeds and flowers. The large genome size and the high amount of repeats in their genomes have made genome sequencing and assembly difficult for gymnosperms so far. Recently, however, the 20 Giga base pair genome of the gymnosperm Norway spruce (Picea abies) has been sequenced, representing the largest genome that has been deciphered so far. Here, I will present some general aspects of the assembly and gene content and I will show analyses of the MADS-box gene family in Norway spruce to obtain new insights into the evolution of flowers.