Photo: Håkan Lindgren
Björn Nystedt, a researcher at the SciLifeLab and at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Stockholm University, is the first author of the article.

The scientists have identified about 29,000 functional genes, marginally more than humans have, but the question arises: why is the spruce genome still seven times larger than ours? According to the study an explanation is “genome obesity” caused by extensive repetitive DNA sequences, which have accumulated for several hundred million years of evolutionary history. Other plant and animal species have efficient mechanisms to eliminate such repetitive DNA, but these do not seem to operate so well in conifers.

The project was led by Umeå Plant Science Centre in Umeå and the SciLifeLab in Stockholm, which is collaboration between Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Uppsala University. Several international leading scientists have also been involved as collaborative partners.

Press release on the Umeå University website
The Norway spruce genome sequenced

Original publication
Nystedt, B. et al. The Norway spruce genome sequence and conifer genome evolution. Nature.