Arabidopsis thaliana is the scientific name for thale cress. It is closely related to the Brassicas, which encompass many important crop species (such as the mustards and canola). It is this, as well as its relatively small genome (around 125 Mbases), which have made A. thaliana the model organism for modern plant molecular biology. The plant is identifiable by its small size (~10 cm), its basal clump of rounded leaves, and the central shoot which extends up to the flowering tip.

As of December 2000, the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative reported that the genome was fully sequenced and annotated. The sequence was published in the December 14, 2000 edition of the journal Nature along with analysis. The fact that the project was a purely academic collaboration means that the genome sequence is in the public domain, freely available to any researcher who wishes to study it.

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