Numerous Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2021 Berkeley Lab Director’s Awards honorees. This annual program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. A complete list of winners can be found here. The 10th annual Director’s Awards ceremony will take place on November 18 at noon.
Numerous Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2020 Berkeley Lab Director’s Awards honorees. This annual program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. A complete list of winners can be found here. The ninth annual Director’s Awards ceremony will take place (virtually) on November 12 at 3 PM.
Inoviruses are filamentous viruses with small, single-stranded DNA genomes and a unique chronic infection cycle. In Nature Microbiology, a team led by DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) researchers applied machine learning to publicly available microbial genomes and metagenomes to search for inoviruses. The search tool combed through more than 70,000 microbial and metagenome datasets, ultimately identifying more than 10,000 inovirus-like sequences compared to the 56 previously known inovirus genomes. The results revealed inoviruses are in every major microbial habitat—including soil, water, and humans—around the world.
“We’re not sure why we systematically manage to miss them; maybe it’s due to the way we currently isolate and extract viruses,” said the study’s lead author Simon Roux, a JGI research scientist in the Environmental Genomics group. Click here to read the full story on the JGI site.
“We have increased the number of viral sequences by 50x, and 99 percent of the virus families identified are not closely related to any previously sequenced virus. This provides an enormous amount of new data that would be studied in more detail in the years to come. We have more than doubled the number of microbial phyla that serve as hosts to viruses, and have created the first global viral distribution map. The amount of analysis and discoveries that we anticipate will follow this dataset cannot be overstated.”
Although the number of viruses is estimated to be at least two orders of magnitude more than the microbial cells on the planet, there are currently less than 2,200 sequenced DNA virus genomes, compared to the approximately 50,000 bacterial genomes, in sequence databases. In a study published online August 17, 2016 in Nature, DOE JGI researchers utilized the largest collection of assembled metagenomic datasets from around the world to uncover over 125,000 partial and complete viral genomes, the majority of them infecting microbes. This single effort increases the number of known viral genes by a factor of 16, and provides researchers with a unique resource of viral sequence information. Read more on the DOE JGI website.