Four letters connect all living things on this planet: ACGT.
These four letters are the building blocks of DNA and now have the power to ensure a classic Auburn tradition lives forever. With recent breakthroughs in DNA sequencing technology, the large, complex genomes of oak trees are now possible to decode. These scientific advancements can also be focused to help the Auburn Family honor the Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner.
From a living, identical clone of the original Auburn Oak at Toomer’s Corner made just days before its untimely death, two Auburn researchers in the College of Sciences and Mathematics will sequence and assemble a high-quality genome for scientific analysis.
The project will begin at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, where long fragments of DNA will be extracted from leaf tissue and read with high accuracy on cutting-edge, HiFi sequencing platforms. The raw data will travel back to our campus where the job of assembly, requiring complex algorithms and massively parallel computation, will be performed on Auburn’s Hopper Supercomputer.
The majestic Live Oak is an iconic tree species of the South, with immense cultural and historical significance. This project will enshrine our own Auburn Oaks in the annals of science, immortalizing it as the archetypal representative of its species. This effort will bear fruit for years to come, benefitting basic and applied research activity and enriching Auburn’s teaching, research and outreach mission.
This Tiger Giving Day, please support an Auburn tradition by donating to ensure the legacy of the Auburn Oaks at Toomer’s Corner. War Eagle!