This website hosts ash genome data to assist scientists in the search for genes that may confer resistance to ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxinea) and the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis).
Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) in Richard Buggs' lab have sequenced the genome of the European ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior), funded by an urgency grant awarded by the Natural Environment Research Council in 2013. The ash genome and associated data have now been published in Nature. The paper is available open access here.
The tree sequenced was the result of self-pollination of a tree growing in woodland in Oxfordshire. The controlled self-pollination of the parent tree was carried out by Dr David Boshier of Oxford University. The offspring from this self-pollination are growing at Paradise Wood in Oxfordshire, owned by the Earth Trust, and managed by Jo Clark. Tissue was collected from one of these trees in January 2013 and DNA was extracted from it by Jasmin Zohren (funded by MSC ITN "Intercrossing") at QMUL. Using flow cytometry, we estimated the 1C genome size of the tree to be 877 Mbp.
Raw DNA sequence data for the British ash genome were generated by Eurofins, and the data was assembled by Lizzy Sollars (funded by MSC ITN "Intercrossing") and Richard Buggs at QMUL, in collaboration with CLCbio, using open access and proprietary software. Assembly and analysis of the genome is being carried out on the QMUL-High Performance Computing MidPlus cluster, and servers at CLCbio.
Since 2014 we have collaborated with The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich to improve and annotate the genome assembly. Full structural annotations are available for the latest assembly under the "Data" tab.
We are currently sequencing the genomes of 30 other ash species from around the world. Some preliminary data from this as yet unpublished work is available for BLAST searches on this website. This work is funded by the LWEC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative Phase 2 Grant, BB/L012162/1 funded jointly by a grant from BBSRC, Defra, ESRC, the Forestry Commission, NERC and the Scottish Government.
January 2016: A publication led by our collaborators Andrea Harper and Ian Bancroft at the University of York, on the discovery of transcriptomic markers for ash dieback susceptibility, can be found here (open access).
December 2016: The ash genome and associated data has now been published in Nature. The paper is available open access here.