The results will also help researchers figure out the construction of chloroplasts, which house the machinery inside plant and algal cells that serves as "solar panels," absorbing sunlight and coupling carbon dioxide and water to produce the starting materials, sugars, that fuel all other metabolic processes. These pathways, described in the DNA sequence, represent opportunities for improving efficiencies for this conversion process and ultimately biofuels production.
"Chlamy's code helps us describe the ancient ancestor of plants and animals that lived over a billion years ago," said Merchant. "The work has generated a clear roadmap for exploring the roles of numerous genes in photosynthetic function, for defining the structure and dynamic aspects of flagellar function, and for understanding how the soil environment, with its large fluctuations in nutrients, has molded the functionality of organisms through evolutionary time."
Chlamy competes for scarce nutritional resources against a panoply of other microorganisms in its native freshwater and soil habitats, and it has evidently succeeded by evolving a large arsenal of proteins to transport raw materials into the cell. Over the ages, as plants and animals have specialized, scores of species have lost facets of these capabilities.
"Yet Chlamy possesses the largest known array of enzymes that manufacture the signaling molecules cyclic AMP an
|Contact: David Gilbert|
DOE/Joint Genome Institute