Langley, Salzberg, Neale and Wegrzyn on sequencing the loblolly pine genome
Conifers are known to have large and highly complex genomes in the range of 20 to 40 Gbps. One of its members, the loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), is the second most common tree species in the USA making it vital to American forestry, and is also a feedstock for the generation of biofuels. With over 1.5 billion loblolly pine seeds planted each year, a large majority of which have been genetically bred for improvement, this pine tree was an ideal candidate for the generation of a reference genome for conifers. In a recent study in Genome Biology, Charles Langley and David Neale from the University of California, Davis, USA, Jill Wegrzyn from the University of Connecticut, USA, Steven Salzberg from Johns Hopkins University, USA, and colleagues, describe how they sequenced and assembled the first full length genome of the loblolly pine, making this the longest genome sequenced to date at 22.18 Gbps. Here Langley, Salzberg, Neale and Wegrzyn discuss how they overcame the challenges associated with sequencing such a large genome.