Several Berkeley Lab scientists will present talks at the 72nd annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society, to be held February 15 through 19 in Austin, Texas. Among them are four representing the Biosciences Area: Mary Maxon, Blake Simmons, Trent Northen, and Susannah Tringe.More »
Though once thought to be “junk DNA,” enhancers are extremely important, regulating the expression of specific genes that ultimately determine a cell’s properties and functions. However, there are many more enhancers than genes and their relationship is unclear. A team of scientists in the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division have turned their attention to this relationship and the overall importance of enhancers to development. By better linking the genomic complement of an organism with its expressed characteristics, their work offers new insights that further the growing field of systems biology, which seeks to gain a predictive understanding of living systems.More »
Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, contain communities of microorganisms—including fungi, bacteria, and archaea—that dwell together within the uppermost millimeters of soil in arid lands. These microbes can exist for extended periods in a desiccated, dormant state, becoming metabolically active when it rains. Understanding how biocrust microbial communities adapt to their harsh environments could help shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle. Berkeley Lab scientists led by Trent Northen’s group in Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) found that specific compounds are transformed by and strongly associated with specific bacteria in native biological soil crust. The researchers reported their findings in a paper published January 2 in Nature Communications.More »
Jenny Mortimer, Deputy Vice President of the Feedstocks Division at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Research Scientist with the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division collaborated with a team of international researchers headed by scientists from the University of Tübingen to decipher the workings of the Cytolysin toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases. The study shows that the Cytolysin binds to a class of glycosylated sphingolipid that Mortimer’s group studies. By producing plants which have modified forms of the sphingolipid, the toxin binding specificity could be determined. The study was published in Science today, December 14, and its findings may lead to ways of better protecting crops from such pathogens in the future. Read the Science news article about the study.
A high-throughput, cost effective method for discovering gene function in microbes under various environmental conditions is among the winners of R&D Magazine’s 2017 R&D 100 Award. The technology, called Dual Barcoded Shotgun Expression Library Sequencing (Dub-seq), was developed by Adam Arkin, Adam Deutschbauer, Vivek Mutalik, and Pavel Novichkov of the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology (EGSB) Division. Dub-seq … Read more »