Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London in Richard Buggs' lab are sequencing the whole genome of dwarf birch (Betula nana), a nationally scarce species in the UK. Dwarf birch is a good model for the birch genus as it is diploid, and can be grown to maturity in greenhouse-sized spaces.
A paper reporting the initial sequencing of the dwarf birch genome, and the testing of restriction site associated DNA markers in dwarf and downy birch was published online in Molecular Ecology on 21 November 2012.
The dwarf birch (Betula nana) genome is composed of approximately 450 million bases. We conducted our intial sequencing of it using Illumina technology at the Beijing Genomics Institute. This generated millions of short DNA reads in pairs separated by 200, 500, 800, 2000 and 5000 bases. Enough DNA was sequenced to cover the genome sixty-six times. This data set was assembled on high performance compute clusters at Queen Mary, University of London.
On this website, we make the current best assembly, which is still very preliminary, available for other researchers to use.