Lumbricus rubellus

Home of the Lumbricus rubellus genome project
@ The Blaxter Lab, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh

Blaxter lab main site

The Lumbricus rubellus genome project
and annelid EST database

Earthworms are essential to the life and health of the planet's soils, and thus to the life and health of terrestrial ecosystems. Charles Darwin and others have shown that earthworms both make soil, and ensure its fertility. Lumbricus rubellus is a common earthworm, found in many temperate ecosystems, used as a model species by researchers investigating the biology and ecology of the soil, and the effects of pollutants and other chemicals on soil organisms. This website is the home of our efforts to better understand how Lumbricus rubellus and other soil animals "make their living".

Lumbricus rubellus

The genome project

We are sequencing the genome of Lumbricus rubellus. This will be the first oligochaete annelid genome to be sequenced. The genome sequence will reveal the 'parts list' for this important species, and help us to put together maps of how the worm grows, eats, and reproduces, and how it resists exposures to potentially toxic soil contamination.

To do this we are using the resources, instrumentation and expertise of the GenePool, the University of Edinburgh Genomics Facility.

Click here to access the genome site

The transcriptome project

The genome sequencing project builds on the successful Lumbricus rubellus Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) transcriptome project. ESTs are a way of sampling the expressed genes of a species, and we, as part of The EcoWorm Consortium gained funding from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) generate of over 20,000 ESTs. Using a combination of informatics tools these sequences have been analysed and used to build a relational sequence database - LumbriBASE - that can be queried by both sequence similarity and annotation.

We have added ESTs from additional annelid species to LumbriBASE to make cross-comparison between species easier.

Lumbricus rubellus

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