DOE Microbial Sequencing Results Described in Natural History


The June issue of Natural History magazine, the publication of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, includes an article by Roberta Friedman called “Bacterial Revelations.” Of the five vignettes on recent microbiological findings emerging from genome sequencing, two of them describe work based on DOE Microbial Genome Program efforts. The first centers on the metal reduction abilities of Ralstonia metalliredurens, a microbe studied by John Dunn at the DOE Brookhaven National Laboratory and recently sequenced by the DOE Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA . The second centers on two strains of the marine microbe, Prochlorococcus marinus, also sequenced at the DOE Joint Genome Institute, which may account for up to half of the photosynthetic carbon dioxide fixation in the Pacific Ocean. Both vignettes dramatize the impact of the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s sequencing efforts as new investigations into the roles of bacteria in environmental processes become possible based on knowing the content of their genomic “parts list.”