ASU buys a rare for Siberia sequencing device

12 November 2018 Department of Information and Media Communications
The scientists of Altai State University have begun research in the field of genome-wide sequencing using a unique technology of nanopore sequencing. Such systems are still rare for Siberia and there are few such devices on the territory of the region.

OxfordNanopore's MinIon genome-wide sequencer is able to decipher the DNA and RNA sequence in almost any organism. The South Siberian Botanical Garden of Altai State University obtained this equipment in the summer of 2018 and began research work with the usage of the device in autumn.

The junior researcher at the South-Siberian Botanical Garden of ASU Mikhail Skaptsov is now working on the sequencer as part of several projects at once.

For example, he conducts genome-wide sequencing of the ancient domestic animals’ bones found by archaeologists of Altai State University as part of a project under the leadership of Professor Alexei Tishkin, which will establish the history of the formation of domestic animal breeds.

Another project, supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research in conjunction with the State Natural Science Foundation of China, is investigating the evolution of two groups of the oldest plants of the plant family, followed by prediction of the evolutionary processes in similar groups of plants.

“Within the framework of the project “The Taxonomy of the Selaginella Sanguinolenta and S. Helvetica Complex”, supervised by the director of the South Siberian Botanical Garden, Professor Alexander Shmakov, we are studying microevolutionary processes of plants and their influence on the genome. That is, we plan to find out what happens to the genome during the divergence of species and characters in parallel evolution,” Mikhail Skaptsov explained. “With the help of the sequencer, we estimate the influence of microevolutionary processes on the plant genome. This device allows us to fully analyze the genome of the plant, and to assess what has happened to it during hundreds and thousands of years in cases of polyploidy, hereditary changes, hybridization using the data obtained. Accordingly, we can evaluate the similarity of these plants at the level of their genomes: which genes are turned on or turned off, why this or that morphological change subsequently occurred.”

The DNA sequencing technique was used by the Swedish scientist Svante Pääbo, the founder of paleogenetics, to reconstruct the DNA extracted from a bone fragment that was found in the Denisova cave in Altai. As a result, scientists ascertained the existence of a previously unknown extinct species of archaic humans in the genus Homo – the Denisovan.

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