In Science, a team led by Jean-Marie Volland, a scientist with joint appointments at the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Laboratory for Research in Complex Systems, and Silvina Gonzalez-Rizzo and Olivier Gros of the Université des Antilles, described the morphological and genomic features of a giant filamentous bacterium, along with its life cycle.
The bacterium SAR324 is unusually cosmopolitan. In the ocean’s North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, microbes tend to stay localized at different depths. But SAR324 can be found throughout the water column, from the warm, well-lit surface, to the blue-lit twilight zone, to the continuous pressure of the dark abyss, 4000 m (2.5 miles) deep. Scientists have wondered, how can SAR324 exist in so many varied environments? Now, a recent study supported by JGI and has uncovered that SAR324 encompasses four subgroups, adapted to different oceanic depths and relying on different ways of living. Read more about the hidden diversity of SAR324 on the JGI website.
On January 23, 2020, Berkeley Lab hosted a workshop on opportunities afforded by single-cell technologies for energy and environmental science, as well as conceptual and technological grand challenges that must be tackled to apply these powerful approaches to plants, fungi and algae. This event, which was spearheaded by Diane Dickel in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division, brought together a diverse group of leaders in functional genomics technologies from academia, the National Laboratories, and local research institutions.
Three Joint Genome Institute researchers are among the authors who offered perspectives on what the next five years of innovation could look like for a special issue of the journal mSystems. In one article, Micro-Scale Applications head Rex Malmstrom and Metagenome Program head Emiley Eloe-Fadrosh outline more targeted approaches to reconstruct individual microbes in an environmental sample. In a separate article, research scientist Simon Roux, a member of Eloe-Fadrosh’s Environmental Genomics group, makes a pitch for readers to get involved in the developing field of virus ecogenomics.
Read more from JGI.
Using metagenome data sets collected over several years in northern freshwater lakes, a team led by researchers at Ohio State University and the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) uncovered 25 novel sequences of virophages, parasites that live in giant viruses and use their machinery to replicate and spread. Virophages can alter the way viruses interact with other microbes, such as algae and cyanobacteria, which regulate the flow of carbon in freshwater lakes and help determine whether the bodies of water serve as sinks or sources for carbon. The identification of these novel sequences, reported in the October 11 issue of Nature Communications, doubles the number of virophages known since their discovery a decade ago. Read more on the JGI website..