DOE JGI finishes 100th microbial genome

ORLANDO, Florida-- Microbes, thriving in even the world's most extreme environments, are capable of performing myriad biological functions, learned over the billions of years they have inhabited the planet. Those lessons, and how they can be captured to render clean renewable sources of energy and to repair damaged environments, are among the many secrets encoded in their DNA sequence. On May 23, at the general meeting of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) will announce that it has finished the sequence of100 microbial genomes and released this information for the benefit of the global research community.

ASM President Dr. Stanley Maloy, who will touch on DOE JGI's achievement in his President's Forum remarks said that the 100 microbes represent a rich portfolio of the vast and mostly uncharacterized microbial world. "DNA sequencing has opened a particularly productive vein to mine in exploring and expanding the frontier of microbiology. Especially where, through conventional culture methods, we are unable to shed light on the metabolic profiles of these microorganisms and their environmental implications, DNA sequencing provides us a welcome set of tools."

"The power of DOE JGI sequencing microbes, and other organisms, is that it gives us the complete genomic 'parts list' of those organisms," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science. "With this list in hand, we can explore how microbes use these parts to build and run their key functions, many of critical importance to DOE because they can break down plant materials to produce such useful sources of energy as ethanol and hydrogen, and clean up toxic waste sites. We know that microbes can perform these and a multitude of other amazing tasks and with the proper technology we can harness these capabilities."

DOE JGI, a national user facility, has sequenced or is in the process of sequencing o

Contact: David Gilbert
DOE/Joint Genome Institute

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