The strains, two isolated from rice paddies in Taiwan, one in a rice paddy in India, and three others from the deep ocean, are related, but each one comes from different environmental backgrounds and might metabolize differently. Thus, one or more strains might have biological gifts to offer that the others don't, or else combining traits of the different strains could provide the most efficient form of bioenergy.
No less than four national laboratories will be involved in various stages of sequencing the other cyanobacteria: PNNL, the Joint Genome Institute (a part of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory), Oak Ridge Laboratory and Los Alamos Laboratory.
Cyanothece 51142 was sequenced at WUSTL's Genome Sequencing Center, based in the WUSTL School of Medicine. Paper co-author Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D., Director of the Center, and Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D., of the WUSTL Medical School's Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology had the original vision to sequence Cyanothece 51142, according to Pakrasi.
"They wanted a pilot program and brought in Danforth Foundation money to get the project going," Pakrasi said. "Had it not been for their vision and the initial investment, the interest and support from the national laboratories would not be what it is. More than four years ago, when we were thinking about Cyanothece, we had little idea of the organism's potential. Today, it's all blossomed into something much bigger than we'd thought it would."
|Contact: Gayle Geren|
Washington University in St. Louis