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
University of Adelaide researchers are using nanotechnology and the fossils of diatoms to develop a novel chemical-free and resistance-free way of protecting stored grain...
Scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated that just two of six iron-sulfur-containing ferredoxins in a represent...
The University of Greenwich is leading a €10m international project, called the ‘D-Factory,’ to build a biorefinery to develop the microalga Dunaliella as a sustainable r...
Biomass abounds on Earth, as forests, fields, sewage and seaweed. But only a small fraction, mostly human or agricultural waste, can be harvested without posing environme...
Technical standards define critical terms and metrics to add wisdom for the algae industry. Agreement among science and business leaders represents possibly the most diff...
One of 12 winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award, the Ooho algae balloon was created by three London-based designers to contribute a solution to the rising number of plas...
As the number of photobioreactors in an algae growing operation increases, there is a need for both autonomous control and monitoring of individual PBRs, as well as centr...
Students from three Arizona universities will demonstrate their algae research projects at an Innovation Showcase May 1, in Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Fitness C...
Yereth Rosen reports in the Anchorage Daily News that scientists at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute have found extremely high levels o...
A series of articles by Stephen Mayfield and the UCSD Laboratory deserve recognition for their articles on algae-based medicines for malaria and cancer. Mayfield and his ...
Algenist®, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare brand featuring microalgae, has announced its launch in Nordstrom locations throughout the United States. The launch into Nordst...
Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial ...
By sending algae into space, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his team will be able to study some of the key mechanisms that control plant growth and...
In Phys.Org, Yu Yonehara notes the breakthrough research from the Tokyo Institute of Technology on the connection between early marine algae and the development of terres...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
Algae Industry Magazine is pleased to announce a new Algae 101 series by our popular blogger, Mark Edwards, Professor, Arizona State University. The Algae Solutions to Na...
Following a request from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was recently asked t...
Portuguese cement facility, Secil, and microalgae biotechnology company, A4F, also based in Portugal, have formed AlgaFarm, a joint venture to develop the use of cement f...