BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

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

BER Research Highlights

DOE Joint Genome Institute Genomic Encyclopedia Sheds Light on Microbial Dark Matter
Published: January 04, 2010
Posted: January 13, 2010

The Genomic Encyclopedia of the Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) was highlighted in the December 29 Science Times section of the New York Times, following its inaugural publication in the December 24 issue of Nature magazine. These articles focus on efforts to unlock the diversity of microbial communities to benefit DOE mission needs in biofuel production, global carbon storage, and bioremediation. GEBA now includes 56 microbial species whose complete genomes were sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA. These microbes were selected to NOT be in the well-sampled branches of known microbial life and will thus provide insights into microbial "dark matter," areas of the vast microbial world where large amounts of unknown biology await exploration. Already, one discovery, a salt-tolerant cellulase enzyme, may have promise for bioenergy applications. Additional value expected from the ongoing GEBA initiative includes better tools for understanding what happens to microbial communities in soils and at waste sites associated with DOE activities. The GEBA project represents a collaborative, international project led by expert scientists but also enlisting assistance from interested undergraduate biologists to help analyze these diverse genomes.

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

  • 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-33.2 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

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)