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Abstract Detail

Genomics / Proteomics

Honaas, Loren [1], Wafula, Eric [1], Wickett, Norman [2], Zhang, Yeting [1], Zhang , Zhenzhen [1], Der, Joshua [1], Ralph, Paula [1], Landherr, Lena [1], Bao, Yongde [3], Wu, Biao [4], Gunathilake, Pradeepa [5], Fernandez-Aparicio, Monica [6], Das, Malay [6], Huang, Kan [7], Tomsho, Lynn P. [8], Schuster, Stephan C. [8], Taylor, Chris G.  [9], Altman, Naomi S.  [10], Yoder, John I.  [11], Timko, Michael P. [7], Westwood, James [6], dePamphilis, Claude [1].

The Parasitic Plant Genome Project.

Orobanchaceae are a plant family whose parasitic members include the devastating agricultural pests witchweed (Striga) and broomrape (Phelipanche). In addition to the pressing socioeconomic issues surrounding these parasites, this family represents a unique opportunity to study parasite biology since its members span varying degrees of parasitism from free-living to non-photosynthetic, obligate parasites. The Parasitic Plant Genome Project is taking a comparative evolutionary approach to understanding parasitism in the Orobanchaceae. The project has generated more than 1.5 billion expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from three species, a facultative parasite (Triphysaria versicolor), a photosynthetically competent obligate parasite (Striga hermonthica), and an obligate holoparasite (Phelipanche aegyptiaca). The de novo assemblies of these data represent all life stages from seed conditioning to flowering, and include approximately 30,000 unigenes for each species. In addition, ESTs (of whole-plant RNA) have been sequenced from the basal, non-parasitic Orobanchaceae species LIndenbergia philippensis, which is sister to all parasitic Orobanchaceae. The sequenced genome of another nonparasitic relative, Mimulus guttatus, is a useful reference to characterize genome wide changes associated with the transition from autotrophy to heterotrophy. The sequences are provided as a resource to the public in downloadable form and via a searchable database at The results of this massive sequencing effort are shedding light on the biology and evolution of the Orobanchaceae. Transcriptome analysis has revealed striking patterns of gene expression including surprising conservation of photosynthetic machinery in the non-photosynthetic holoparasite Phelipanche, host specific responses by the generalist Triphysaria, stage-specific expression of a horizontally transferred gene in Phelipanche and identification of differentially expressed genes shared between all 3 species during phases of growth central to the parasitic lifestyle. The methods we have developed in the course of this work have broad application and the results underscore the potential to discover novel plant processes.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Parasitic Plant Genome Project Website

1 - Pennsylvania State University, Department of Biology, Institute of Molecular and Evolutionary Genetics and Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
2 - Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA
3 - University of Virginia, DNA Sciences Core - Department of Microbiology, Charlottesville, VA, 22903, USA
4 - University of California, Department of Plant Sciences, Davis, CA, 95616, USA
5 - University of Peradeniya, Department of Crop Science Faculty of Agriculture, 20400, Sri Lanka
6 - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, USA
7 - University of Virginia, Department of Biology, Charlottesville, VA, 22903, USA
8 - Pennsylvania State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
9 - Ohio State University, Department of Plant Pathology, Wooster, OH, 44691, USA
10 - Pennsylvania State University, Department of Statistics, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
11 - University of California, Department of Vegetable Crops, Davis, CA, 95616, USA

parasitic plant
de novo transcriptome.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 44
Location: Union B/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 44009
Abstract ID:1008

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