LONDON The Torrey Mesa Research Institute (TMRI) in La Jolla California, the genomics research centre of Syngenta, has announced that it has sequenced more than 99% of the rice genome to an accuracy of 99.5% in collaboration with Myriad Genetics Inc. Syngenta — which was formed in November 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals — has used a whole genome shotgun approach with a 6X coverage. It estimates that rice contains 50,000 genes — in comparison with 20,000 for Arabidopsis.

"The biggest surprise has been that about 20% of the genes in Arabidopsis we can't find in rice," Steve Briggs, Director of the TMRI, told BioMed central. "The thinking was that as flowering plants are only about 200 million years old, essentially they're going to have the same genes, just differently regulated and with some duplication — but that turns out not to...

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