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U.S.-German research consortium sequences genome of versatile soil microbe

In a successful transatlantic collaboration, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD, and at four research centers in Germany have deciphered and analyzed the complete genome of a bacterium, Pseudomonas putida, that has the potential to be used to remediate organic pollutants in soil as well as to help promote plant growth and fight plant diseases.

The genome analysis is published in the journal Environmental Microbiology, which devotes its entire December 2002 issue to articles about P. putida and related Pseudomonas species. The genome paper sheds light on the complex and versatile metabolism that gives P. putida an important role in laboratory research on soil bacteria and also gives the bacterium great potential for bioremediation and other uses.

TIGR's German collaborators in the sequencing project were the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH) medical college in Hannover; the Gesellschaft fuer Biotechnologische Forschung (GBF) national research center for biotechnology in Braunschweig; the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) cancer research center n Heidelberg; and the sequencing and genomics center of QIAGEN GmbH in Hilden. Professor Burkhard Tuemmler from the MHH was the project's German coordinator. The P. putida project was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and from the German research ministry, the BMBF.

Associate Investigator Karen E. Nelson, who along with TIGR President Claire M. Fraser led TIGR's component of the sequencing and analysis project, said the availability of the complete genome sequence of P. putida strain KT2440 will make the organism more useful to a range of scientists who are developing new ways to use it and related microbes to clean up organic pollutants.

"This genome provides a great model for microorganisms that have tremendous potential in various areas of biotechnology, such as producing natural compounds, remediating polluted habitats, a
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Contact: Robert Koenig
rkoenig@tigr.org
301-838-5880
The Institute for Genomic Research
2-Dec-2002


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