Navigation Links
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 scientists to identify enzymes for potential commercial applications. Though invisible to the naked eye, microbes are powerful organisms that play a critical role in the atmosphere and the environment, and can have many practical applications, such as cleaning up oil spills and conversion of plant products to ethanol.

Changing science education, building knowledge

The project represents an important step for science in general and for BGSU in particular, according to Dr. Paul Morris, a professor of biology.

In the initial phase, beginning in January, Xu, Morris and their students will use the Collaborative Genomics Annotation Tool, a bioinformatic platform being developed by Kerfeld and colleagues at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, to begin decoding the first genome, which will also be worked on by the other participating schools. Then, each school will choose a microbe to adopt, Xu said, and the project will expand to other biology faculty, who can incorporate the organism into their courses across the curriculum. Xu has already been working on a special microbial genomics course dedicated to the genome analysis program.

As one of the first participants, BGSU will help develop new models to be disseminated nationally that will help transform life sciences education.

Because the students data will be credited with their names attached, there is considerable accountability involved, the two biologists said. Responsibility for quality control will rest with participating faculty, who will conduct backup checking of data.

The excitement of discovery is powerful, Morris said. Theyll be looking at stuff no one has seen before.

A vast undertaking

The originator of the groundbreaking Human Genome Project, which was later taken over by the National Institutes of Health in the late 1980s, the Department of Energy is the world leader of genomic research of microbes that contribute to environmental stewardship and clean energy, Xu said.

The DOE Joint Genome Institute, supported by the DOE Office of Science, unites the expertise of five national laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest, along with the Stanford Human Genome Center, to advance genomics in support of the DOE mission related to clean energy generation and environmental characterization and cleanup.

They have an ambitious plan, Xu explained, noting that the JGI hopes to sequence the genomes of all cultured bacteria and archaea in the next few years. With more than 5,000 genomes, averaging 4 to 5 million base pairs each, they need the input of a big community, including our BGSU undergraduates, to annotate all that, Xu said. There are about 100 genomes in the pipeline now, she added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bonnie Blankinship
bblanki@bgsu.edu
419-372-2618
Bowling Green State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Restoring sight, advances in fertility treatments and better visibility for pilots at FIO
2. Groundbreaking Canada-US study proves link between emissions and mercury pollution in fish
3. Groundbreaking Canada-US study proves link between emissions and mercury pollution in fish
4. Unravelling new complexity in the genome
5. Conquest of land began in shark genome
6. One species entire genome discovered inside anothers
7. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
8. First individual genome sequence published
9. Ultraconserved elements in the genome: Are they indispensable?
10. $10 million gift to support cutting-edge epigenome center at USC
11. Fungus genome yielding answers to protect grains, people and animals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast in this ... technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, ... end use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and ... and others), and by region ( North America ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest of the ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... India , March 28, 2017 ... IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software ... Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD ... between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th ... in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, ... and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study ... in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The ... IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings announced ... by which its ProCell stem cell therapy prevents ... ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ProCell ... limbs saved as compared to standard bone marrow ... HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
Breaking Biology Technology: