Giant panda genome: mapped or sequenced?

I’m with Ogden Nash who said:

I love the baby giant panda,
I’d welcome one to my veranda

This week, I learned via Keith that Chinese scientists announced the completion of the giant panda genome. An impressive achievement, given that the project was announced in March this year, but what exactly has been completed? Has the genome been sequenced – that is, there are strings of A, C, G and T covering most chromosomes, or mapped – that is, the approximate chromosomal location of most genes determined? The media seem unsure.

And so on. Here’s a Google News search with more hits.

So what has been achieved – sequencing or mapping? If the former, is it really complete (I doubt this) or draft – and if draft, what kind of quality? And where are the data? Nothing in the genome project section of NCBI as yet.

5 thoughts on “Giant panda genome: mapped or sequenced?

  1. Jonathan Badger

    So what has been achieved – sequencing or mapping

    Well, probably sequencing — the media just doesn’t get the difference between mapping, sequencing, and even “cracking”. “deciphering” and “decoding”, which they sometimes use as well to mean sequencing. I used to get angry about this. Now I just sigh.

    If the former, is it really complete (I doubt this) or draft – and if draft, what kind of quality?

    Probably a not very high quality draft, but, hey, that’s par for the course! As a relatively recent venturer into the wilds of eukaryotic genomics, I’ve discovered that with eukaryotes, “complete” doesn’t mean at all what it means in bacterial genomics. Closure? Pshaw!

  2. nsaunders Post author

    I’ve become used to “mapping” as a synonym for “sequencing” too, but this is a whole new level of confusion – I can’t even tell what’s been done from the media reports!

    Enjoying your recent posts on those strange nucleated things, keep them coming.

  3. martinj

    I opt for sequencing. I’d guess it’d be hard to do find and type enough pandas and sort out their pedigrees to do any reasonable mapping procedure. They’re endangered after all, and known for not breeding all that often…

    Perhaps it could be done with the world population of giant pandas in zoos, though. They’re probably related, so it could perhaps make something like a natural backcross experiment. Hm. I would guess sequencing anyways.

  4. nsaunders Post author

    Yes, it is sequencing. My point is that from the media reports, it’s not at all clear what’s been done and there is no further information.

  5. martinj

    I just got a bit carried away by the prospect of a giant panda extended pedigree… :)

    I wholeheartedly agree with your point, though. I mean, if the journalist has a hard time getting through the scientific lingo, can’t he or she at least include a reference to the actual paper?

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