The Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) announced today that they will sequence the genomes of four species of labyrinthulomycetes.
These little-known marine species were selected for sequencing as the result of a proposal submitted to the competitive JGI Community Sequencing Program by a team of microbiologists led by Dr. Jackie Collier, assistant professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University.
“Labyrinthulomycetes are a huge group of organisms that behave ecologically like fungi,” said Dr. Collier. “But we know so little about them and there is more diversity among this group than among all the animals you can think of.”
Labyrinthulomycetes are single-celled marine decomposers that eat non-living plant, algal, and animal matter. They are ubiquitous and abundant—particularly on dead vegetation and in salt marshes and mangrove swamps. Although most labyrinthulomycetes species are not pathogens, the organisms responsible for eelgrass wasting disease and QPX disease in hard clams are part of this group.
In some regions, labyrinthulomycetes may be as important as bacteria in degrading organic matter. In coastal systems, the abundance of bacteria is tied to levels of organic matter from marine sources, while the abundance of labyrinthulomycetes is more closely tied to levels of particulate organic matter from land sources. This suggests that labyrinthulomycetes may play an important role in the marine carbon cycle by breaking down material that is difficult to degrade. Because labyrinthulomycetes—unlike bacteria—make long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they are also thought to improve the nutritional value of poor quality organic detritus.
“The genome sequences will provide a quantum leap in our understanding of the physiological capacity of these organisms,” said Dr. Collier. “The genes can tell us which enzymes a species is capable of producing, which in turn tells us what kinds of material they can potentially degrade and what role they play in a marine ecosystem’s food web.”
In addition, genomic information might suggest ways to exploit labyrinthulomycetes in novel biotechnological applications. Labyrinthulomycetes produce a wide array of enzymes and some species can degrade crude oil. Also, some labyrinthulomycetes are currently cultured for nutritional supplements. If PUFAs derived from labyrinthulomycetes were to replace fish oils and meal used in aquaculture and animal farming, it would likely reduce the number of fish caught for use as animal feed and have a positive impact on the health of the world’s oceans.
Donna Bannon | Newswise Science News
Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics
Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering