In December 2000, a multinational research team reported the completion of the sequencing of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome, the primary model used to study flowering plants. This discovery provides insight into the genetic basis of the similarities and differences between diverse multicellular organisms and gives researchers tools to access a deeper understanding of plant development and environmental responses, as well as the structure and dynamics of plant genomes1.

Uncovering the genetic makeup of plants and how the altered expression of genetic variants contributes to complex plant phenotypes in different environmental conditions is fundamental to answering basic research questions in plant biotechnology. It is also of paramount importance when designing the next generation of crop plants that will help us meet the challenges of creating a sustainable future food supply.

Sequencing plant genomes is becoming easier and more cost effective, even for de novo sequencing projects aimed at obtaining the primary genetic sequence of plant species of interest. With technologies like semiconductor sequencing, a single researcher can now sequence an entire plant genome in just a few hours.

Plant de novo sequencing refers to sequencing and assembling a plant genome without any reference genome sequence. Next-generation sequencing technologies sequence millions of bases in a single round. This leap in throughput allows researchers to move beyond model organisms and gain an understanding of all plant genomes—a critical step in unraveling the complexity of plants.

Powered by Ion semiconductor sequencing, the Ion Personal Genome Machine™ (PGM™) System and the Ion Proton™ System enable the fastest run times at the most affordable price of any benchtop sequencers. These dramatic improvements in sequencing technology are changing the way plant scientist look at genomics and are paving the way for the next wave of agriculture discoveries.

Learn more about Life Technologies’ extensive portfolio of instruments, reagents, and analysis software at

  1. The Arabidopsis Initiative (2000) Analysis of the genome sequence of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature 408:796-815.

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