The periodical nature reports that it is the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum ("The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of diatom genomes" nature online, October 15th 2008).
The researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association who participated in the research project concentrated primarily on this diatom's evolution.
The genes of marine organisms have increasingly been investigated for some years - at first only those of bacteria which have a relatively small genome. By now, micro algae are also at the focus of the researchers' attention. They belong to the phytoplankton, the basis of the marine food chain. The probably most important group, the diatoms, plays a particular role. These algae are responsible for 40 percent of marine photosynthesis; this corresponds to a worldwide proportion of 20 percent. Diatoms have an important function in the earth's carbon dioxide balance.
The researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute are particularly concerned with the evolution of diatoms within the framework of this research project. These algae form a symbiosis of several cell types which distinguishes them from land plants. Traces of different cell types have been found in the genome of Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and its proportion of the metabolism of algae species has also been analysed at the Alfred Wegener Institute. It has been shown that the diatom possesses a broad spectrum of photosynthesis genes which might have contributed to its success in the seas.
Not only the photosynthetic performance is interesting for the researchers, but also the highly robust shells of the diatoms as well as their capacity to produce large quantities of high-quality vegetable oils - the well known omega-3 fatty acids. Actually, these oils come primarily from diatoms and they make fish such a precious food source. Energy producers have recently shown an interest in diatoms. The oils of diatoms could be used as bio fuels, replacing diesel fuel.
The paper "The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of diatom genomes" will be published online in the periodical nature October 15th 2008.
The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker "Polarstern" and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, Germany's largest scientific organization.
Margarete Pauls | idw
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses