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Enhancing the sugar beet genome sequence for research and biotechnological applications

Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) is an important crop in Europe and in the US, accounting for ~30% of the yearly global sugar production. Sugar beet is one of the most recently domesticated crops. First efforts of breeding sugar beets date back to the end of the 18th century, following the discovery that beet sugar is chemically identically to sugar extracted from sugar cane. An increased breeding efficiency and opportunities for an improved food and biomass production are of growing interest, e.g. for generating energy in the form of bioethanol and biogas.

The diploid sugar beet is the first plant belonging to the order Caryophyllales to have its genome sequenced (Nature 2014). In the frame of the ongoing BMBF-funded AnnoBeet project three academic and two industrial partners (see below) aim at the improvement of this genome sequence for basic research and biotechnological application. Within the consortium, the UniBi group uses several approaches, like GBS (genotyping-by-sequencing) or targeted sequencing of pools of genomic clones, to genetically anchor additional sequences and to bridge the remaining gaps within scaffolds and/or between sequence contigs. The goal is to establish an genome sequence that is organized in pseudochromosomes. Manual and automated annotation of the predicted genes at the structural and functional level is supported by GenDBE (see below).

The resulting data we will contribute to a sound basis research in sugar beet - to identify and characterise single genes, to study gene families, to investigate metabolic pathways, or to describe the distribution repetitive sequences.

Funded by

BMBF in the context of the German Plant2030 program.


  • Bielefeld University, CeBiTec
  • MPI for Molecular Genetics, Berlin and Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona
  • Technical University, Dresden
  • KWS Saat AG, Einbeck
  • Syngenta Seeds GmbH, Bad Salzuflen


The Beta vulgaris Resource
Web resource set up and maintained by the group of Heinz Himmelbauer.


Entry to the GenDBE project to access the sugar beet genome sequence

The link below directs to GenDBE, a (currently unpublished) extended version of GenDB, which is a genome annotation system for prokaryotic genomes. GenDBE is able to act on eukaryotic genomes.

    System requirements for GenDBE are:
  • A HTML 4.x compatible web browser.
  • We stronly recommend to use (only) the latest version of Firefox.
  • A screen resolution of at least 1280x1024.
  • Please enable Javascript.
  • Please enable Cookies.
  • Please enable Popup-Windows for this site.
  • The system has been tested with Netscape >=7, Mozilla >=1.1, Firefox >= 1.0, and Konqueror.
    Data included, in the context of RefBeet-1.2:
  • Fosmid end sequences: 179,407 (from 100,740 clones)
  • BAC end sequences: 42,728 (from 23,821 clones)
  • Protein coding sequences (CDS's): 29,831
  • Expressed sequence tags (ESTs): 13,847
  • Transposable elements (TEs): 4,723
  • Genetic markers: 976

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Enter GenDBE_RefBeet-1.2
(provided as is - feedback wellcome)