A Chlamydomonas Pan-Genome initiative has been launched under the auspices of the Joint Genome Initiative Community Science Project ((JGI-CSP). The PIs are O. Vallon, S Dutcher, F. Aylward, D. Baurain, C.Blaby-Haas, A. Burlacot, R. Bock, P. Cardol, T. Druet, M. Hanikenne, P. Lefebvre, S. Merchant, R. Ness, K. Niyogi, M. Schroda, C. Silflow and A. Smith, with collabration of R. Craig, S. Gallaher and others. We will assemble and annotate the genomes of 20 strains of C. reinhardtii, mostly field isolates and a few laboratory strains. The goal is to group these assemblies and the already available lab strain genomes into a pan-genomic description of the species, covering as much of its natural variation as possible. The strains and associated sequence data will be made available to the Chlamydomonas research community to facilitate approaches such as genome-wide association studies linking phenotype and genotype, population genomics etc.
Eleven strains are being sequenced as part of Phase 1, mostly isolates from North-America but also Japan and Europe. We believe that C. reinhardtii is found in all temperate regions of the globe. That’s why in phase 2 of the project we will collect new field isolates from all over the world. Using a standardized protocol, we will collect soil samples and try to isolate new strains of C. reinhardtii. We are now calling for help especially from colleagues in Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania (not excluding those in Europe or N. America). If you want to participate in our effort and are ready to invest the work it takes to isolate a Chlamy-like microalga, make it axenic and run diagnostic PCRs and mating tests, then you are welcome to join. Please contact Olivier Vallon firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying which biogeographical area you would be able to sample from.