One of the most vital pieces of equipment for fly fishing is a boxful of lures. Designed with feathers or wires to mimic an insect or a particular movement, each of these lures are the bait designed to attract specific catches. A similar “hook and bait” technique has been developed by researchers led by JGI Microbial Program Head Tanja Woyke. Using a single-cell screen, they can now identify microbes with specific functional characteristics. When they tested the screen method on a microbial community from geothermal hot springs, they uncovered a novel cellulose-degrading bacterium typically found in low abundances. Read more on the JGI website.
JGI Overhauls Perception of Inovirus Diversity
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.
New EGSB Leadership Announced
N. Louise Glass, director of the Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB) Division, announced new leadership as of October 1, 2018. Changes were implemented to diversify perspectives and ideas within the management of the Division. Ben Brown and Henrik Scheller have agreed to take on positions as Division co-deputies for science; Tanja Woyke and Chris Mungall will now serve as department heads of Functional Genomics and Molecular Ecosystems Biology, respectively.
DOE JGI Helps Define Standards for Genomes from Uncultivated Microorganisms
More than a century after the Industrial Revolution, advances in DNA sequencing technologies have caused similarly dramatic shifts in scientific research, and one aspect is studying the planet’s biodiversity. One critical term that needs standardization is “metadata,” defined simply as “data about other data.” In Nature Biotechnology, an international team led by DOE JGI researchers has developed standards for the minimum metadata to be supplied with single amplified genomes (SAGs) and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) submitted to public databases. Read more on the DOE JGI website.
DOE JGI Helps Develop New Technology to Access Microbial Dark Matter
Miniaturized, microfluidic-based metagenomics technology developed under the aegis of U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute’s (DOE JGI’s) Emerging Technology Opportunity Program (ETOP) has enabled researchers to shine a light on so-called microbial “dark matter”—the majority of the planet’s microbial diversity that remains uncultivated. Researchers from Stanford University demonstrated the efficacy of the new technique, extracting 29 novel microbial genomes from Yellowstone hot spring samples while still preserving single-cell resolution to enable accurate analysis of genome function and abundance. Read more in this JGI Science Highlight.
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