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Genomics

Spruce shotgun sequencing

Multiple technologies have allowed researchers to piece together the highly repetitive genome of the white spruce (Picea glauca, pictured), one of the biggest assembled.

Credit: WAYNE LYNCH/ALL CANADA PHOTOS/CORBIS

Like that of the Norway spruce (Picea abies), the draft genome, at more than 20 billion base pairs, is many times larger than the human genome. Inanc Birol at the Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, Canada, and his colleagues modified commercial platforms to read longer DNA fragments. The researchers also used software that relies on parallel computation of overlaps between fragments to determine larger stretches of sequences.

The combined strategies allowed the team to stitch together a genome out of pieces averaging more than 20,000 base pairs. Assembling shotgun sequencing data from scratch can be cost-effective even for gigantic genomes, the authors say.

Bioinformatics http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btt178 (2013)

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Spruce shotgun sequencing. Nature 498, 8 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/498008c

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