Arabidopsis Genome

Courtesy National Science Foundation Headlines on the morning of December 14, 2000, trumpeted the end of a presidential election that promised to go on forever. But if California Institute of Technology molecular biologist Elliot Meyerowitz had his way, the front page would have read differently: "Plant Genome Sequenced" at the top, then, lower down, "Election Decided - See Page 2." In a tour de force that capped a year of genome blockbusters, European, Japanese, and American scientists complet

Barry Palevitz
Jan 7, 2001

Courtesy National Science Foundation

Headlines on the morning of December 14, 2000, trumpeted the end of a presidential election that promised to go on forever. But if California Institute of Technology molecular biologist Elliot Meyerowitz had his way, the front page would have read differently: "Plant Genome Sequenced" at the top, then, lower down, "Election Decided - See Page 2."

In a tour de force that capped a year of genome blockbusters, European, Japanese, and American scientists completed the DNA sequences of chromosomes 1, 3, and 5 of "the little mustard that could," Arabidopsis thaliana. Announced in four papers in a much-awaited issue of Nature,1-4 the sequences joined those from chromosomes 2 and 4 published a year ago,5,6 completing a four-year effort "to understand all the genes in the organism," according to Meyerowitz. While true understanding is still years away, it was a landmark anyway: the first...

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