This post discusses about a castor bean genome research published in 2010 by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Because of the potential use of castor bean as a biofuel and its production of the potent toxin ricin, the team focused efforts on genes related to oil and ricin production. They analyzed important metabolic pathways and regulatory genes involved in the production and storage of oils in the castor bean.The analyses could be important for comparative studies with other oilseed crops, and could also allow for genetic engineering of castor bean to produce oil without ricin.
Researchers sequenced and assembled a 4X draft of the ~400 Mbp castor bean genome using a whole genome shotgun strategy. In addition, ~50,000 ESTs from different tissues have been produced to help gene discovery and annotation. The results of their work showed that the castor genome is 350 Mb and has an estimated 31,237 genes. The team also discovered that the ricin gene family was larger than previously thought, and they revealed approximately 28 genes in the ricin producing family.
Preliminary comparisons between castor bean genes and ESTs from other available Euphorbiaceae species, showed that cassava shares the highest sequence similarity with castor bean.
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