Patrick Shih, Director of Plant Biosystems Design at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and faculty scientist with the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB) Division, collaborated with a team of researchers led by the University of British Columbia in a new study that has found that bacteria go extinct at substantial rates, although appear to avoid the mass extinctions that have hit larger forms of life on Earth. The finding contradicts widely held scientific thinking that microbe taxa, because of their very large populations, rarely die off. The study “Bacterial diversification through geological time,” published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution used massive DNA sequencing and big data analysis to create the first evolutionary tree encompassing a large fraction of Earth’s bacteria over the past billion years. To learn more read the University of British Columbia news release.
Several Biosciences Area personnel are among the 2017 Berkeley Lab Director’s Awards honorees. This annual program recognizes outstanding contributions by employees to all facets of Lab activities. A ceremony honoring all of the 2017 recipients will be held on November 30 in the Building 50 Auditorium.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in collaboration with Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology Division and the DOE Joint Genome Institute developed a versatile system (named jStack) which utilizes yeast homologous recombination to efficiently assemble DNA into plant transformation vectors. The new approach will impact plant engineering for the bioenergy, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.