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Arabidopsis thaliana is a small plant in the mustard family that has become the model system of choice for research in plant biology. Significant advances in understanding plant growth and development have been made by focusing on the molecular genetics of this simple angiosperm. The 120-megabase genome ofArabidopsis is organized into five chromosomes and contains an estimated 20,000 genes. More than 30 megabases of annotated genomic sequence has already been deposited in GenBank by a consortium of laboratories in Europe, Japan, and the United States. The entire genome is scheduled to be sequenced by the end of the year 2000. Reaching this milestone should enhance the value of Arabidopsis as a model for plant biology and the analysis of complex organisms in general.
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