[ad#PhycoBiosciences AIM Interview]

Research

Ehux “Tree of Life” alga sequenced

June 13, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

The Emiliania huxleyi (Ehux) alga has now been sequenced after a ten year effort by the DOE’s Joint Genome Institute.

The Emiliania huxleyi (Ehux) alga has now been sequenced after a ten year effort by the DOE’s Joint Genome Institute.

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) have announced completion of sequencing the Emiliania huxleyi (Ehux) genome, allowing them to compare the sequences of this bottom of the food chain alga with those from other algal isolates.

Ehux represent the most abundant species of coccolithophore, the unicellular, eukaryotic phytoplankton distinguished by calcium carbonate scales (think White Cliffs of Dover) which are also important microfossils. An important part of the planktonic base of a large proportion of marine food webs, coccolithophores are of particular interest to those studying global climate change because as ocean acidity increases, their coccoliths may become even more important as a carbon sink.

The Ehux strain was isolated from the South Pacific and is the first reference genome for coccolithophores. Due to the complexities and size of the genome, the project ended up taking more than ten years. Originally estimated to be about 30 million bases, the genome ended up being closer to 141 million. The researchers were then able to conduct a comparison of 13 Ehux trains, revealing the first ever algal “pan genome.”

The coccolithophore is unique in that it doesn’t exist as a clearly defined “species” with a uniform genome, but as a more diffuse community of genomes (a pan-genome) with different individuals possessing a shared “core” of genes supplemented by different gene sets thought to be useful in dealing with the particular challenges of its local environment.

“Ehux thrives in a broad range of physiochemical conditions in the ocean,” Igor Grigoriev, the senior author of the study, said. “It’s a complex genome, with lots of genes and repeats, the first reference for haptophytes and fills another gap in the Eukaryotic Tree of Life.”

Other discoveries included genes that allow the Ehux to thrive in low levels of phosphorus and to assimilate and break down nitrogen-rich compounds. Additionally, the researchers discovered hints that Ehux may also be involved in the global sulfur cycle as it is able to produce a compound that can influence cloud formation and thus affect climate.

The project researchers see the availability of the Ehux genome sequence as an important first step in unlocking the molecular mechanisms that govern the nucleation, growth and nanoscale patterning of the calcium carbonate shells – like those that comprise the Cliffs of Dover. Long term, this work could lead to the design of new composite materials and devices for applications related to bone replacement, periodontal reconstruction, sensing systems, optoelectronic devices and the treatment of diseases.

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Tyler Treadway of TCPalm reports on technology joining the fight in response to the Florida algae blooms. He watches, as water from a boat basin topped with several inche...
Kuo Chia-erh reports for Taipei Times that Taiwan Cement Corp, the nation’s leading cement supplier, has announced plans to expand its microalgae farm, which produces ast...
In New Zealand is an internationally significant collection of microalgae cultures known as the Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae (CICCM). The CICCM was...
In Australia, the New South Wales Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH) has been launched as an enabling incubator environment to foster the development of algae as a cost effect...
Dr. Tom Dempster works as a research professor – focusing on strain selection and development, biomass production, algal biofuels and high-value products, and air and was...
Since hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity, we are increasingly thinking about hydrogen as a successor to crude oil. But where will the hydrogen come from? Its ecologi...
Global Algae Innovations, with headquarters in San Diego, California, and cultivation/production facilities in Lihue, Hawaii, have introduced a new algae harvesting syste...
Joy Lanzendorfer reports for NPR that, as seaweed continues to gain popularity for its nutritional benefits and culinary versatility, more people are taking up seaweed fo...
For algal biofuels to compete with petroleum, farming algae has to become less expensive. Toward that goal, Sandia National Laboratories is testing strains of algae for r...
Sarah Karacs reports for @CNNTech that Japanese firm Euglena has been cultivating a type of algae for use in food and cosmetics. But it sees a range of other potential us...
Monica Jain of Fish 2.0 writes in National Geographic about how the algae brand is about to undergo an image makeover, and may soon seem flat-out glamorous — once again. ...
The recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and ...