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BGSU undergraduates to pilot groundbreaking genome project
Date:12/12/2007

BOWLING GREEN, O.Bowling Green State University biology undergraduates will soon be contributing to the body of knowledge in genomics while they learn. The University has been selected as one of 12 institutions nationwide to pilot the new Microbial Genome Annotation research program through the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI).

Analysis of the genomes of microorganisms is an important new tool in understanding the biology of organisms. With new technologies available, complete bacterial genomes can be sequenced in a matter of hours. Undergraduates will have the opportunity to computationally map the DNA of a microbe, conduct experiments to test their findings, publish their work in the worldwide online genome databaseand gain valuable skills in genomics and bioinformatics.

Bowling Green will collaborate with the Department of Energy and the other 11 pilot schools, which include Michigan State University, UCLA, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the University of South Florida and Hiram College.

The scope of the project is to work in teams, an important skill for young scientists to learn, said BGSU project director Dr. Zhaohui Xu, an assistant professor of biological sciences.

Xu became aware of the JGI program after meeting Dr. Cheryl Kerfeld, director of the JGI Education Department and leader of the nationwide initiative, at a bioinformatics workshop. Bowling Greens reputation in microbiology and genomics, along with the support of the biological sciences department, helped secure its place as one of the first universities in the country to collaborate on the project, Xu said.

The first genome to be analyzed is a microbe found in Indonesian volcanic hot springs. If we can learn how life can survive in these environments, it can help us address some of our environmental and energy challenges today, Xu said.

Assembling DNA sequences into complete genomes may also allow scie
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Contact: Bonnie Blankinship
bblanki@bgsu.edu
419-372-2618
Bowling Green State University
Source:Eurekalert

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