Press Release

Ceres, Inc and TIGR to Collaborate on Analysis of Thousands of Plant Genes

December 19, 2000

Los Angeles, California. Ceres, Inc., a privately held plant genomics company, and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) have announced a collaboration to accurately identify the structure of genes and their encoded proteins in the chromosomes of the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Arabidopsis is a model plant species widely used by scientists for genetic studies of agricultural crops and other plants.

Since 1996 an international consortium of laboratories, including TIGR, have collaborated to determine the complete chromosomal or genomic DNA sequence of this important plant species, but the precise boundaries and structure of many of the genes have not yet been identified and annotated due to the limitations of gene prediction algorithms and lack of supporting experimental evidence.

Ceres, utilizing several proprietary technologies and algorithms, has amassed tens of thousands of full-length cDNA sequences from Arabidopsis and other plant species. It has used this proprietary information to accurately identify genes within the Arabidopsis genome and their respective protein products. Ceres is making a portion of this information available to TIGR in order to help annotate the complete Arabidopsis genome as accurately and quickly as possible. It is anticipated that this collaboration will lead to a greatly improved understanding of many Arabidopsis genes for the scientific community worldwide.

Dr. Richard Flavell, the CSO of Ceres said, "Ceres' large database of full-length cDNA sequences and leading bioinformatics software have produced very important information on the structure of genes in chromosomal DNA. Given the importance of Arabidopsis to the scientific community and to the future of agricultural research worldwide, we are willing to have a portion of this proprietary information made available to all. TIGR has a leading reputation in genomic sequencing and characterization and, in a major project with the National Science Foundation, has been given the responsibility of accurately annotating the entire Arabidopsis genome. TIGR is therefore an ideal partner for Ceres to help bring this knowledge to the scientific community in a useful form".

Dr. Claire M. Fraser, President of TIGR, stated "One of the limiting factors in precisely identifying gene boundaries and exon-intron structure in genomic DNA is the lack of supporting experimental evidence. The data that Ceres is providing will greatly assist us in providing accurate annotation for many Arabidopsis genes to the scientific community".

The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) is a not-for-profit research institute with interests in structural, functional and comparative analysis of genomes and gene products in viruses, eubacteria, pathogenic bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes (plant, animal and human). TIGR was the first institution to sequence the first three genomes from free-living organisms (Haemophilus influenzae, Mycoplasma genitalium, and Methanococcus jannaschii) in 1995 and 1996 and has recently completed the sequencing of its 20th microbial genome. TIGR also was the first institution to complete the first sequence of a chromosome from the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and from the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 301-610-5969

Ceres, Inc. is a privately held plant genomics company utilizing multiple technologies in an integrated, industrial assembly-line fashion to rapidly discover plant genes and their functions. Ceres' technology platforms include high-throughput DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, mutant analysis, gene expression analysis, gene activation and gene inactivation technologies. Ceres applies the knowledge from these platforms in three major product development areas: target discovery and validation for agrochemical screening, the use of plants as feedstocks for chemical and pharmaceutical production and the development of high-value genetically enhanced crops. Ceres aims to become a leading provider of important plant traits and products to the agrochemical, chemical, healthcare, food, feed and fiber industries.