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

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

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