Checkbiotech: Sorghum sequence to help researchers improve other grains and develop new fuels
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Orion Genomics, a Second Code biotechnology company, announced today that it
is donating to public researchers all of its proprietary gene-enriched DNA
sequence from the sorghum plant, a close relative of corn and one of the
most important cereal crops worldwide, January 2005.
The sequence is expected to help researchers understand and harness
sorghum?s unusual resilience in sub-optimal environments to improve other
crops such as maize, and to contribute to the development of biofuels. A
paper authored by Orion researchers appears online today in The Public
Library of Science and describes the way in which Orion?s GeneThresher?
technology was used to quickly and cost effectively elucidate for the first
time more than 95 percent of the genes in sorghum.
Previously, using traditional technologies, the sorghum sequence was too
large to be cost-effectively determined. The sorghum sequence is available
at Genbank (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank) of the National Center for
Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine
(NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
?Orion's public release of more than half a million sequences derived from
the gene-rich portion of the sorghum genome represents a significant advance
in U.S. cereal genome research,? said John Mullet, Ph.D., Director of the
Crop Biotechnology Center and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry
and Biophysics at Texas A&M University and a worldwide expert in sorghum
?Orion's collection of a half million gene rich sequences and the more than
20,000 different gene sequences derived from NSF funded cDNA sequencing
projects provide the first in-depth look at sorghum's gene complement. This
information will significantly advance comparative analysis of the sorghum,
rice and maize genomes and accelerate the discovery of genes that contribute
to sorghum's unusual adaptation to hot, dry, adverse environments.?
The sorghum sequence was developed using Orion?s GeneThresher technologies
as part of a project that leveraged a 2001 cost share grant awarded to
enhance sorghum by the Department of Energy. The grant was awarded to an
Orion-led consortium of researchers from NC+ Hybrids and Solvigen, LLC to
develop new enhanced sorghum lines with higher starch more efficient in the
production of biofuels and bioproducts.
?Our hope is that Orion?s gift of the sorghum sequence to public researchers
brings tremendous benefit to people worldwide by leading to improved grain
crops and environmentally friendly fuels,? said Nathan Lakey, President and
CEO of Orion Genomics.
For more information, visit [www.oriongenomics.com
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