The Schizosaccharomyces Comparative Genome Project project is part of the Broad Institute Fungal Genome Initiative. Its goal was to sequence, annotate and analyze the genomes and transcriptomes of Schizosaccharomyces japonicus, Schizosaccharomyces octosporus and Schizosaccharomyces cryophilus. The primary collaborator for this project was Nick Rhind at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Medical School.
Schizosaccharomyces japonicus,Schizosaccharomyces octosporus and Schizosaccharomyces cryophilus are cousins of the well studied fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been a major model organism for cell cycle and cell biology research for thirty years. The comparison of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe genome, which was sequenced several years ago, with those of its close relatives will greatly improve our understanding of the genomes and the proteins they encode.
In addition, the four fission yeast form an early-branching clade among the Ascomycete (ascus-forming) fungi, which include yeast, hyphal fungi, and truffles. Comparison within the Schizosaccharomyces and between them and other Ascomycetes should provide insight into the evolution of multicellular fungi and eukaryotes, in general.
In addition to S. pombe 972h, the standard lab strain of S. pombe from which the reference genome was derived, there are dozens of other S. pombe strains isolated from around the world. We have sequenced two of them, S. pombe 132 and S. pombe var kambucha. The goal in sequencing these other two strains was to investigate genome diversity and evolution through the identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms. Both genomes were sequenced to about 30x coverage with single pass 36 base reads on the Illumina platform and have over 99% coding sequence coverage. They are both about 99.5% identical to 972h at the nucleotide level.