One of the aims of Nornex is to understand the ash genome, in particular the genes that lie behind variation in susceptibility to ash dieback between different trees. To do this, the partners are looking to sequence the genome of a tree that appears to be resistant, known as Tree 35. The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich, UK is leading this effort.
Tree 35 is considered the mother of ash dieback survival, having remained healthy while other trees around it died or became severely damaged. In Denmark, where Tree 35 was found, approximately 90 per cent of ash trees were wiped out by the fungus. On the Danish island of Sealand, Tree 35 was just one of two trees to survive.
Genome analysis of Tree 35, coupled with further studies into differences in gene content between trees with varying symptoms of infection, should give Nornex partners an insight into why some trees can survive infection and others cannot.
As partners in the Nornex consortium, The Genome Analysis Centre is using the latest sequencing technology and assembly methods to provide a genome sequence for Tree 35, with the aim of both enabling further research into ash dieback as well as providing information to accelerate breeding of trees which are less susceptible to the disease.
The first genome assembly has been completed and is available for analysis on the project’s open access platform OpenAshDieback website http://oadb.tsl.ac.uk. Further data will be made available as it is generated.
Nornex hopes that as well as the 11 Nornex partners, others will contribute to the analysis of this open access data.
For more on the work of The Genome Analysis Centre, head to www.tgac.ac.uk