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Messing, Joachim

Developmental neurobiology, neuroncology, growth factors

Twenty-five years ago. we developed a method called shotgun DNA sequencing, which has been used to sequence the genomes of microorganisms, animals, and plants. Recently, in collaboration with other laboratories we have sequenced the entire rice genome as a reference for gene discovery and organization in cereal species. Cereals are part of the grass family and some of its members provide the major food supply on earth. One interesting feature of the genomes of different cereal species is the enormous size variation, which is in part due to differential retro-transpositions and up to some degree due to gene amplification. An example of differential gene amplification is the seed storage protein genes in maize. From a practical point of view, the amino acid composition of the mature seed is controlled by the accumulation of the differentially expressed storage proteins, which therefore regulate nitrogen deposition in the seed and serve as a major renewable energy resource on earth. Interestingly, gene amplification results in differential regulation of individual gene members, providing new clues of plant chromosomal organization and functionalization.

 

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