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Genome sequencing of fungus with biotechnological applications
Date:2/27/2009

Researchers Antonio G. Pisabarro (Professor of Microbiology) as well as Jos Luis Lavn and Jos Antonio Oguiza, from the Genetic and Microbiology Group at the Public University of Navarre, have taken part in the international project for the sequencing of the genome of the Postia placenta fungus. The results, published recently in the American National Academy of Sciences' scientific journal (PNAS), has enabled the determination of the mechanisms with which this fungus attacks wood in order to use the cellulose contained within. These results are important for designing processes using wood to produce bioethanol.

For the production of biofuel cereals, beet and other crops (first-generation fuels) have been used as raw material. Nevertheless, the controversies generated by this derived use of food products have made it necessary to look for new raw materials which are not foods and do not affect their price on the market In this sense, food and vegetable waste are a promising alternative (second-generation fuels). Access to the sugar that forms cellulose (the real starting point for the production of alcohol) is difficult in this type of waste. In this context, the results of the study of the P. placenta genome are one more step in the quest for more efficient and less contaminant processes for the production of alcohol from wood.

The project for sequencing and identification of the genes of this fungus, coordinated by Dan Cullen of the University of Wisconsin (USA), has taken two years to complete and 53 researchers from eight countries participated in it. If we were to transcribe in letters the almost 17,000 genes making up the P. placenta genome, we would occupy 7,000 pages with 33 million letters. As Gerardo Pisabarro, the person responsible for the team of researchers at the Public University of Navarre, explained: the problem is not so much obtaining these seven thousand pages, because there are tools that enable
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Contact: Irati Kortabitarte
iratik@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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