Project: Leveraging the genome sequences of two Arabidopsis relatives for evolutionary and ecological genomics.

The overall strategic objective of ERA-PG is to build links between leading research teams and to boost the overall competitiveness of plant genomics in Europe. This proposal brings together some of the very best European scientists in the areas of evolutionary and ecological genomics, including junior and senior groups. Understanding the forces driving plant evolution is an essential prerequisite if we want to comprehend the mechanisms underlying plant adaptation. This, in turn, will enable the more efficient breeding of crops that are better adapted to the environment. We are currently experiencing a drastic decline in whole-genome sequencing costs, which will provide unprecedented opportunities in all crop plants. The work done in ARelatives will help us to exploit these new opportunities. The ARelatives Consortium exploits the impending completion of two new plant genome sequences, those of single strains of Arabidopsis lyrata and Capsella rubella, currently under way at the Joint Genome Institute of the US Department of Energy ( Although this multi-million dollar project is funded entirely by the US government, members of this ERA-PG team have played key roles in developing this project. In ARelatives, we are leveraging the information generated by DOE-JGI, both through bioinformatic analyses that address questions of selection and adaptation on a genome-wide scale, and through functional genomic, genetic and ecological avenues that will provide experimental evidence for specific adaptation events. Together, these approaches will set the stage for applying similar strategies in crop species. Our specific aims are (1) to detect genomic regions responsible for species-specific adaptation, (2) to identify genetic variation affecting a model adaptive trait, flowering time, in Arabidopsis and Capsella, and (3) to compare evolution of self-incompatibility in Arabidopsis and Capsella.

Acronym ARelatives
Duration 01/07/2007 - 01/01/2010
Website visit project website
Network ERA-PG
Call Structuring Plant Genomic Research in Europe - ERA-PG First Call for Proposals (2006)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Ghent University Belgium
University of Oulu Finland
Max Planck Society - Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology Coordinator Germany
University of Osnabrück Germany
University of Glasgow United Kingdom
John Innes Centre United Kingdom
University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
Aarhus University Denmark