Through a collaborative effort, researchers have identified a protein in soil viruses that may promote soil health. The work was enabled in part by a community data portal of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Using 5,000 images of crystalized samples cloned and synthesized by the JGI, scientists have begun the complex process of uncovering the hidden secrets of soil viruses.
Since its launch 25 years ago, the Genomes OnLine Database has matured from six projects on a spreadsheet into a flagship genomic metadata repository, making curated microbiome metadata that follows community standards freely available, and enabling large-scale comparative genomics analysis initiatives.
In the last thirty years, in environments all over the world, scientists have discovered giants among viruses. Culturing studies have been key to understanding these viruses’ host range, morphological structures, and infection strategies. More recently, researchers have employed cultivation-independent approaches to discover thousands of new giant viruses, rapidly expanding the diversity of the Nucleocytoviricota phylum. A new review provides a perspective on giant virus diversity, and how sequencing and bioinformatics have sped up the study of giant viruses.
In Cell Genomics, an international consortium led by researchers at the Joint Genome Institute team generated 824 new Actinobacteria genomes, which were were combined with nearly 5,000 publicly available ones and 1,100 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) reconstructed from sequenced environmental samples in a previous study.
The undeniable power of plants, and the lessons they can teach us, are why the JGI took on the Open Green Genome Initiative in 2018 as part of its Community Science Program. A recent paper published in Nature Communications on Ceratopteris richardii marks the first published manuscript of a genome sequence generated through the OGG and solves an ongoing mystery in ferns.