Getting up to speed

These are great times for scientists interested in whole genome sequences and large-scale genomics. Nevertheless, in the plant field both whole genome sequencing and genome-wide analyses took a slow start. It was only in late 2000 that the first genome sequence, of the dicot and model system Arabidopsis, was published. Admittedly, this was faster than the publication of the human genome in 2001, but the human genome was about 25 times bigger, at that time still an almost insurmountable difference in magnitude. Then, it took almost another two years to finish the second plant genome sequence, the one of rice, a monocot. Four years later still, the third plant genome, the one of the poplar tree, was announced , followed by the publication of the Vitis (grape) genome sequence the year after, in 2007. In 2008, the draft genome sequence of a moss, Physcomitrella patens, was released, as well as the genome sequences of two other dicots, Lotus and papaya. The genome sequences of maize, sorghum, and cucumber followed next, in 2009, while in 2010 another six plant genomes became public. This number again doubled in 2011. If this trend will continue, and we have every reason to believe so, we can expect another 20 plant genomes in 2012 and a doubling of the number of plant genome sequences about every year.

Van de Peer, Y., Pires, J.C. (2012) Getting up to speed. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 15(2):111-4.

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