Chloroplasts are active metabolic centers that play a key contribution to life on earth by converting solar energy into carbohydrates via photosynthesis and thus releasing oxygen. These organelles are considered to be endosymbiotic cyanobacteria and thus have bacterial origin and are genetically semi-autonomous although they are in constant close relationship with the nucleus. Many chloroplast genes have been transferred to the nucleus but the proteins that are essential for photosynthesis have been retained in the nucleus.
The first chloroplast genomes were sequenced 37 years ago and since then, the evolution of the sequencing techniques have facilitated the sequencing of more chloroplast’s genomes. Third generation sequencing is now widely used for chloroplast genome sequencing and facilitates de novo genome assembly thanks to its long reads, especially in the four chloroplast junctions between the inverted repeat (IR) and single-copy regions.
The availability of more chloroplasts genomes has enabled insights into plant biology and diversity, the phylogeny of plant families as well as helped resolve evolutionary relationships. This information has helped our understanding of adaptation of important crops to the climate for example and has led to translational applications such as conferring them protection against different stresses. The availability of more chloroplast genomes has indeed improved our understanding of intracellular gene transfers, conservation and changes that occurred during domestication. Chloroplast genomes are particularly helpful in the identification of closely related species. They are also useful in modern biotechnology to introduce desirable traits from unrelated species as they are materially inherited in most cultivated crops thus preventing transgene escape via pollen.
With this collection, BMC Genomic Data would like to contribute to the generation of more chloroplast genomes and data sets for the community and thus increase the general knowledge of this important organelle.
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