"The microbes in the oceans control most major chemical cycles in the biosphere, yet we know very little about how they work or who they are. Finding a reliable and economical way of accessing genomes of the uncultured microorganisms is one of the biggest challenges facing environmental microbiologists today", said Dr. Sieracki.
Over 99% of the Earth’s microorganisms cannot be cultivated in laboratory, making their ecological roles, biochemistry and potential practical applications an unresolved mystery. The cutting-edge approach to tackle this enigma, originally developed for the human genome sequencing project, has been sequencing large quantities of short sections of DNA from the extracts of entire microbial communities, and then assembling these sections back into individual genomes by computational means. Unfortunately, the diversity of natural microbial communities proved so incredibly high, that very few genomes could be assembled from even the largest metagenomic studies, consisting of millions of DNA sequences. In a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Drs. Stepanauskas and Sieracki propose an alternative to the metagenomic research.
"We present a novel approach to studying metabolic capabilities of the uncultured microbial taxa. Our method is based on fluorescence-activated sorting, whole genome amplification, and multi-locus DNA sequencing of single cells. This allows us to sequence any number of genes in each cell, including those that reveal cell’s identity and those that tell us what biochemical reactions the cell is capable of performing", said Dr. Stepanauskas.
The publication "Matching phylogeny and metabolism in the uncultured marine bacteria, one cell at a time," is a result of the researchers’ collaboration, which has developed since Dr. Stepanauskas arrived at Bigelow in 2005. "The availability of the first flow cytometry facility dedicated to ocean science, which is headed by Dr. Sieracki, was one of the reasons behind my move to Bigelow", said Dr. Stepanauskas. The paper is available online at: www.pnas.org.
Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto
Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
16.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2017 | Life Sciences
22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy