U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Comparing Genomes of Two Algae Strains Highlights Genes for Carbon Capture
Published: April 13, 2009
Posted: April 24, 2009

Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, led by Alexandra Z. Worden, have decoded the genomes of two algal strains, highlighting the genes enabling them to capture carbon and maintain the delicate balance of carbon in the oceans.  The study sampled two geographically diverse isolates of the photosynthetic algal genus Micromonas: one from the South Pacific, the other from the English Channel. Surprisingly, the two isolates had about 90% of their genes in common compared to about 98% for humans and some primates.  Algae such as Micromonas were among the first cells on Earth to acquire the capacity to fix CO2 and use the energy from sunlight to generate biomass (the essential process of photosynthesis).  Worden said that the differences between these algae may make them more resilient compared to more closely related species, enabling them to better survive environmental change and their geographically diverse locations. These results help illuminate cellular processes that could be used to produce algae-derived biofuels. Scientists at DOE's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) played an essential role in the research by carrying out the DNA sequencing and participating in the interpretation of the results. These findings are published in the April 10 edition of the journal Science.

Contact: Daniel Drell, SC-23.2 (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling
  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI)
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)