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The Multinational Brassica Genome Project


First meeting of the Steering Group for the Multinational Brassica Genome Project








January 12, 2003, Crescent Room, Town and Country Hotel, San Diego, CA

In attendance

Ian Bancroft (Chair), Boulos Chalhoub, Dave Edwards, Yong-Pyo Lim, Derek Lydiate, Tom Osborn, Michel Renard, Carol Ryder, German Spangenberg


Wolfgang Friedt, Graham King, Jinling Meng, Jan Sadowski

Areas of discussion

Role of the Steering Group

It was agreed that the role of the Steering Group should be to help crystallize objectives and promote national and international research programmes contributing towards the Multinational Brassica Genome Project (MBGP), which was initiated at the Crucifer Genetics workshop in UC Davis, March 2002. The Steering Group should develop integrated strategies for Brassica genomics and interface with national funding agencies. The members of the Steering Group are to represent their national (or regional) Brassica research communities and provide a conduit for communication. Although interaction with, and support from, industry is essential, it was not considered essential to invite a representative to join the Steering Group with specific responsibility for the industrial perspective.


It was agreed that effective communication within the international Brassica research community was essential for the success of the MBGP. A good start had been made with the general information ( and database gateway ( sites. Information relating to the MBGP will also appear in the Cruciferae Newsletter. The research community is to be encouraged to sign up for the international Brassica genomics E-mail newsgroup (via


It was agreed that the Steering Group would continue to encourage the free exchange of materials (e.g. BAC libraries and mapping populations) and information (e.g. marker sequences, genetic and physical maps). Integration of physical maps could be achieved by use of common anchors to the Arabidopsis genome, and this is to be encouraged wherever possible.

Priority actions

The Steering Group agreed two priority action. Firstly, the BAC-based physical maps being generated to represent Brassica genomes (the most complete of which are being developed in the UK as part of a BBSRC-funded project, and in Korea as part of Bio Green funded Project, must be anchored to communal Brassica genetic maps. Secondly, a Brassica genome sequencing project should be initiated. The Steering Group discussed various options. It was agreed that it would be best to concentrate on one genome (A or C) but there should continue to be some targeted comparative sequencing. Yong-Pyo Lim stated that funds were available in Korea to start sequencing BACs from Chinese cabbage. The genome of B. rapa is smaller than that of B. oleracea or B. napus (at 550 Mb relative to 600 Mb and 1200 Mb, respectively), seems to have less dispersed repetitive regions and there are freely available BAC libraries providing very deep (>20-fold) coverage of the genome. Hence it was decided that the main focus should be on sequencing the genome of Brassica rapa variety Chiifu. A plan for the sequencing programme is to be developed by Ian Bancroft and Yong-Pyo Lim, starting with the end sequencing of ca. 110,000 BAC clones.


notes prepared by Ian Bancroft, Feb 2003