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Genomic Science Program

May 2003 News Briefs

May 2003

DOE Joint Genome Institute and Oregon State University Sequence Key Soil Microorganism in Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles
This microbe, Nitrosomonas europaea (N. europaea), derives all of the energy it needs to grow from the oxidation of ammonia to nitrate. In so doing, N. europaea converts CO2 to cell biomass. This type of carbon sequestration may lead to biologically-based technologies to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As an editorial in the Journal of Bacteriology, May 2003, points out, the use of ammonia, CO2 and mineral salts to make biomass (more N. europaea cells) essentially means that this microbe makes itself from "almost nothing." Additionally, N. europaea is highly dependent on environmental iron and its genome seems to contain genes that confer upon it the capacity to "steal" iron from surrounding microbes. Consistent with many previously sequenced microbes, about 30 percent of the genetic information in its genome mediates unknown functions in the microbe's biology.

Program Contact: Dan Drell, SC-72, (301) 903-4742


Two Office of Science/Biological and Environmental Research (SC/BER) Supported Scientists Win Major Microbiology Awards
At the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in Washington, DC, in May, two SC/BER supported microbiologists will receive prestigious ASM awards. Dr. Kenneth Nealson of the University of Southern California will receive the Proctor and Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology for his contributions to our knowledge of the microbiology of marine, freshwater, terrestrial, and other environments where microbes are found. One key finding was quorum sensing, the chemical basis for how microbes sense local cell density. He is well known for developing technologies to detect microbial life in unconventional environments, attracting National Aeronautics and Space Administration interest as potentially valuable for life detection on Mars probes. Nealson is a grantee in the DOE Genomes to Life Program. Also being honored is

Dr. Gary Olsen of the University of Illinois, who will receive the United States Federation for Culture Collections and J. Roger Porter Award. Olsen has made many fundamental contributions to microbial taxonomy, analyses of microbial diversity, and the use of small RNA sequences to build the presently understood "tree of life" in the microbial world. Olsen is a grantee in the DOE Microbial Genome Program.

Program Contact: Dan Drell, SC-72, (301) 903-4742


Technologies for Characterizing Molecular and Cellular Systems Relevant to Bioenergy and Environment [9/17]

Carbon Cycling Projects Awarded [10/16]

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Abstracts [9/16]

Bioenergy Research Centers
Key Advances Update: 2014-2016 [06/16]

BER Biological Systems Science Division Strategic Plan [10/15]

BER BSSD funds the Genomic Science Program


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