[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
Renewable fuels company Muradel has launched Australia’s first integrated demonstration plant to sustainably convert algae into green crude, as a first step towards a com...
Kevin Quon writes in Seeking Alpha about the financial plights and pivots of Solazyme, the algae industry’s most high profile recent IPO. In a year that started with a sh...
Designboom.com is showcasing the “Spirulina Fountain” designed by bureau A. The installation constitutes a hybrid, fusing the production basins of the intense blue-green ...
UC San Diego’s efforts to produce innovative and sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental problems have resulted in a partnership with the region’s surfing indu...
Algiran, an Iranian algal biotech company, has recently established a pilot scale algal cultivation demonstration facility at the Chabahar Free Zone, in the Baluchistan P...
DENSO Corporation, Toyota Motor Corp.’s largest supplier, has announced that it will build a large test facility to culture Pseudochoricystis ellipsoidea – an oil-produci...
Glass tubing manufacturer SCHOTT, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), a commercial algae producer and one of the largest manufacturers of natural astaxanthin, have part...
I’m an aquanaut teen. I was born in immersion in 2050 in an underwater farm called “Aequorea” off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Bio-inspired, the farm draws its name from ...
The Algae and Biofuels Laboratory at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is partnering with Lianhenghui Investment Company to construct a...
S V Krishna Chaitanya writes for the New Indian Express that a scientist from Chennai, the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, in South India, is playing a ke...
The U.S. Department of Energy has ranked UC San Diego’s algae biofuels research effort the number one such program in the nation for the fourth consecutive year. The late...
Natural Icelandic astaxanthin supplier, ArcticFarma, has reached an agreement with a subsidiary of China-based BGG to rename itself in order to avoid market confusion. “B...