Microbial communities perform a central role in mediating ecosystem biogeochemical cycles and transforming environmental contaminants. However, examining the functional properties of these communities and how they respond to changing conditions is a challenge. The GeoChip, a chip containing an array of molecular probes, enables scientists to efficiently analyze many DNA samples from environments of interest for genes involved in key functional processes including biomass breakdown, nitrogen use, organic contaminant degradation, and metal resistance. A new version of the chip, GeoChip 3.0, is now available that features twice the number of functional gene families, improved analytical tools and software, and a greatly increased capability to trace functional properties to specific community members. This new tool provides enhanced capabilities for understanding the functional processes of environmental microbes and monitoring their response to changing variables. The GeoChip was developed by a collaborative team of investigators at the University of Oklahoma and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The original version won an R&D 100 award.
Reference: He, Z. et al. 2010. "GeoChip 3.0 as a High-Throughput Tool for Analyzing Microbial Community Composition, Structure, and Functional Activity," ISME Journal: 4: 1167-1179.
Contact: Joseph Graber, SC-23.2, (301) 903-1239
SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
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