"Because of the size and inherent complexities, the genome become known as 'The Beast' and without the epic persistence and unwavering commitment from the DOE JGI, the project would not have been completed," said Read, who proposed the sequencing of Ehux back in 2002.
With the advent of next generation sequencing technologies the team was able to conduct a comparison of 13 Ehux strains revealing the first ever algal 'pan-genome." Ehux doesn't exist as a clearly defined "species" with a uniform genome, but as a more diffuse community of genomesa "pan-genome"with different individuals possessing a shared "core" of genes, but supplemented by different gene sets thought to be useful in dealing with the particular challenges of its local environment.
"Ehux thrives in a broad range of physiochemical conditions in the ocean," said Igor Grigoriev, the paper's senior author, whose team from the DOE JGI led the genome annotation and analysis. "It's a complex genome, with lots of genes and repeats, the first reference for haptophytes and fills another gap in the Eukaryotic Tree of Life. It is amazing that while you need a microscope in order to see this elegantly sculptured microbe, you can see from outer space the light reflected from large areas of ocean during Ehux blooms."
The team found variability in the Ehux genome that helps explain the alga's ability to thrive in oceans from the equator to the
|Contact: David Gilbert|
DOE/Joint Genome Institute