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Brussels, November 24, 2000

Invitation to the Press

First plant genome fully sequenced

Keywords: plant biotechnology, genome

On 14 December 2000, the complete sequence of a small plant – Arabidopsis thaliana – will be published in the journal “Nature”. This first full sequencing of a plant genome is not only a major scientific breakthrough, it offers also perspectives for future industrial applications. Press briefings will be held in Brussels, London and Washington to announce this world first and present the first observations of the scientists.

A press briefing will be organised in Brussels on Wednesday 13 December 2000 at 10:30. Scientific, photographic and video material will be provided.

Arabidopsis is a small plant which is used as a model for plant research, like Drosophila for insects and animals and E. coli for bacteria. Thus, it was chosen for an international collaborative effort to determine the first plant genome.

This work was carried out in laboratories in the European Union, the United States and Japan as part of a publicly-funded project to determine the sequence of the first plant genome. The project is funded mainly by the European Union (EU), the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, and the Kazusa Institute in Japan.

The press briefing will take place on 13 December 2000, from 10:30 to 12:00, at the Breydel building, 45 avenue d’Auderghem in Brussels. Journalists wishing to attend should notify Michel Claessens or Stéphane Hogan so that practical arrangements can be made.

The efforts of the European network will be presented through short presentations by various partners in the Arabidopsis genome project and scientists pursuing follow-up projects (see programme).

For further informationt:

Stephane Hogan, Quality of Life Programme, Research DG
Tel: + 32 2 296 29 65, E-mail:Research Contact

Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG,
Tel: + 32 2 295 99 71, E-mail:

Brussels, 13 December 2000

Press conference programme

(Simultaneous interpretation into English, French and German will be available)


Time Title Speaker
10:30 Introduction A. Mitsos, Director General,
DG Research
10:40 The Arabidopsis sequencing project Prof. Francis Quetier, Genoscope, Centre National de Séquençage, Evry (FR)
10:50 Assembling & analysing the genome Dr. Werner Mewes, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Munich (DE)
11:00 Applications & socio-economic impact Dr. Marc Zabeau, Institute for Biotechnology, Gent (BE)
11:10 Follow-up projects Javier Paz-Ares, Centro Nacional de Biotechnologia, Madrid (ES)
11:20 Questions  
12:00 Buffet lunch  

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PRESS RELEASES | 27.11.2000