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Mysterious microbe may play important role in ocean ecology
Date:11/13/2008

ing reagents and software produce extra-long "reads" of DNA, greatly increasing the speed of the sequencing process.

"We were able to gain early access to this new high-throughput technology for rapid sequencing of the microbe's genome," Zehr said. "I had begun to suspect that there was something missing in this organism's genome, and the genome sequencing confirmed that."

Photosystem II is large complex of multiple proteins and chlorophyll molecules, but the team was unable to find any of the genes for the photosystem II core proteins. The genes for photosystem I appeared in the sequencing data, as did genes for both photosystems from the small numbers of contaminating cyanobacteria in the sample.

Zehr said he plans to continue his research on the new microbe and fill some gaps in the present knowledge. Efforts are currently under way to map the microbe's presence in the oceans and determine its global abundance. Zehr is also interested in how its metabolism differs from other known cyanobacteria. If it can be cultured, there may be ways to exploit this organism's unusual metabolism in biotechnology applications, he said.


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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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