Thursday, 12 April 2012

Identical DNA Codes Discovered in Different Plant Species

ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2012) — Analyzing massive amounts of data officially became a national priority recently when the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative. A multi-disciplinary team of University of Missouri researchers rose to the big data challenge when they solved a major biological question by using a groundbreaking computer algorithm to find identical DNA sequences in different plant and animal species.

"Our algorithm found identical sequences of DNA located at completely different places on multiple plant genomes," said Dmitry Korkin, lead author and assistant professor of computer science. "No one has ever been able to do that before on such a scale."

"Our discovery helps solve some of the mysteries of plant evolution," said Gavin Conant, co-author and assistant professor of animal sciences. "Basic research on the plant genome provides raw materials and improves techniques for creating medicines and crops."

Previous studies found long strings of identical code in different species of animals' DNA. But before this new MU research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, computer programs had never been powerful enough to find identical sequences in plant DNAs, because the identical sections weren't found at the same points.

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