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NCGR Collaborates with the Ohio State University, DOE Joint Genome Institute, University of Tennessee and 454 Life Sciences to Sequence the Genome of the Major Pathogen of Vegetable Crops.

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR), in partnership with investigators at the Ohio State University, the Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the University of Tennessee, and 454 Life Sciences Corp., announced today the receipt of awards totaling approximately $3M from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-CSREES, the National Science Foundation and the DOE Community Sequencing Program to obtain the DNA sequence for the entire genome of a major pathogen of vegetable crops, Phytophthora capsici.

Phytophthora capsici, a fungus-like oomycete, is a devastating pathogen of vegetable crops such as cucumber, squash, pumpkin, tomato and pepper. First reported in the United States in 1922 on chili peppers in New Mexico, P. capsici has spread widely to become a pathogen of national economic importance. Recently, P. capsici's host range has expanded to include snap and lima beans. Sequencing the genome of P. capsici will provide the critical knowledge and tools needed to discover the genes that cause virulent outbreaks and determine host range and epidemiology of this pathogen. In turn, these studies will help farmers, breeders, and producers nationwide by development of improved diagnostics, resistant plant cultivars, and better control measures.

"New Mexico has been a pioneer in genome sequencing and analysis," said Gov. Bill Richardson, who oversaw the Human Genome Project while secretary for energy. "These grants will allow this outstanding partnership to develop tools to fight a major economic threat to New Mexico's farmers."

454 Life Sciences' Measurement Service Center, located in Branford, Conn., will provide a comprehensive sequence of the genome of P. capsici. 454 Life Sciences' novel technology greatly accelerates genome sequencing, making it possible to sequence and compare the genome of multiple strains that infect different vegetable crops and differ in virulence and resistance to antifungal agents. The collaborators will provide sequence information to researchers nationwide using the World Wide Web through the Phytophthora Functional Genomics Database (www.pfgd.org).

About NCGR: Located in Santa Fe, N.M., NCGR is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving human health and nutrition through collaborative research at the intersection of bioscience, computing and mathematics. www.ncgr.org

About 454 LifeSciences Corp.: 454 Life Sciences, a majority-owned subsidiary of CuraGen Corp. (Nasdaq: CRGN), is commercializing novel instrumentation and measurement services for rapidly and comprehensively conducting high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, with specific application to sequencing of whole genomes and ultra-deep sequencing of target genes. www.454.com

About the Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC): Supported in part by the Ohio General Assembly and with locations on Ohio State's Columbus and Wooster campuses, OARDC is the largest and most comprehensive agricultural research facility in the United States. www.oardc.ohio-state.edu

About the University of Tennessee: The University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research, and public service in agriculture and related areas to students, producers, and consumers in Tennessee, the region, nation, and world. www.tennessee.edu

About the DOE Joint Genome Institute: JGI is among the world leaders in whole-genome sequencing projects devoted to microbes, model vertebrates, aquatic organisms and plants. Established in 1997, JGI unites the expertise of five national laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the Stanford Human Genome Center, to advance the frontiers of genome sequencing and related biology. www.jgi.doe.gov
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 14, 2005
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