HudsonAlpha researchers lead liverwort analysis

Genome analysis of early plant lineage sheds light on how plants learned to thrive on land.

Though it’s found around the world, it’s easy to overlook the common liverwort – the plant can fit in the palm of one’s hand and appears to be comprised of flat, overlapping leaves. Despite their unprepossessing appearance, these plants without roots or vascular tissues for nutrient transport are living links to the transition from the algae that found its way out of the ocean to the established multitude of land plants.

As reported in the October 5, 2017 issue of Cell, an international team including researchers at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) analyzed the genome sequence of the common liverwort to identify genes and gene families that were deemed crucial to plant evolution and have been conserved over millions of years and across plant lineages. The work was led by researchers at Monash University in Australia and Kyoto University and Kindai University in Japan. Read more at

At CROPS 2017, SMRT Sequencing powers reference plant genome assemblies

This week, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the University of Georgia are co-hosting CROPS 2017, a meeting focused on
genomic technologies and their use in crop improvement and breeding programs.

The three-day event attracts more than 200 attendees involved in research and breeding for a range of important crop species. PacBio was proud to be a sponsor of the conference.

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Upland cotton sequence now publicly available

A consortium led by Z. Jeffrey Chen of The University of Texas at Austin and Jane Grimwood and Jeremy Schmutz of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has made publicly available a significantly improved high-quality genome sequence of Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). This sequence of the species making up greater than 90% of the world’s spinnable cotton fiber builds upon previous genome sequences published in the past five years.

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Speciation in flowering mustard plant driven by alleles adapted to local conditions

HudsonAlpha faculty investigator part of team that identified chromosomal inversion

On the slopes of the Northern Rocky Mountains, the flowering mustard plant Boechera stricta is undergoing a quiet transformation – that is, evolving into a fitter species better adapted to its local environment. HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Jeremy Schmutz was part of a team led by Thomas Mitchell-Olds of Duke University who analyzed the mechanisms by which Boechera stricta living in a hybrid zone in the Northern Rocky Mountains experienced positive directional selection. Their study was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution in April 2017.

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Coral sequencing at HudsonAlpha published in Current Biology

HudsonAlpha’s faculty investigators, Jeremy Schmutz and Jane Grimwood, PhD, are part of an international team of researchers who have concluded that one group coral could adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity. Schmutz and Grimwood, who are co-directors of the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center, performed the coral sequencing, helped with directions for the genome work and completed test assemblies of the data sets.

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Genome sequencing could save American chestnuts

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is generating and annotating a reference genome for the American chestnut tree in a project with The American Chestnut Foundation that aims to restore the once dominant tree to forests in the Eastern United States. We are all familiar with the opening lines of The Christmas Song: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …” But this collaborative project could mean that those chestnuts might once again come from an American chestnut tree.

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First marine flowering plant genome sequenced by HudsonAlpha researchers

Genome gives insight to extreme genetic plant adaptations

Huntsville, Ala. — Three researchers from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology successfully performed DNA sequencing on a new plant genome, Zostera – an eelgrass that is the first of its kind to be sequenced. The work was part of a six-year project with the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) that could help researchers understand how plants adapt to extreme environmental changes. The results of the project were published online in Nature on January 27.

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GSC working with the Land Institute to sequence the Kernza genome

The HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center is collaborating with the Land Institute to explore the uses of a certain wheatgrass which is becoming an increasingly popular alternative source for breadmaking and brewing beer.

“This intermediate wheatgrass its called, or perennial wheatgrass is very different than the annual grain of wheat that we plant,” says HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and co-director of the Institute’s Genome Sequencing Center Jeremy Schmutz.

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HudsonAlpha plant researchers contribute to gbM study

Researchers from the US and Germany, including two HudsonAlpha faculty investigators, delve into the roots of gene body methylation in plants in a PNAS article published online July 26, GenomeWeb reports. While most of the plants it analyzed by comparative epigenomics had methylomes resembling Arabidopsis thaliana, the team unearthed a plant lacking gene body methylation: a plant in the Brassicaceae family called Eutrema salsugineum, commonly known as saltwater cress.

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Cuing environmental responses in fungi

Genomes assembled and finished at HudsonAlpha provide clues to the evolution of sensory perception

Two fungal genomes assembled and finished at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology are helping researchers understand the evolution of sensory perception. Fungi can sense environmental signals and react accordingly, changing their development, direction of growth and metabolism. Sensory perception lies at the heart of adaptation to changing conditions and helps fungi to improve growth and recycle organic waste and to know when and how to infect a plant or animal host. New results based on characterizing and then conducting a comparative analysis of two genome sequences published online May 26, 2016, in the journal Current Biology shed new light on the evolution of sensory perception in fungi.

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