The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC), a new initiative aimed at empowering microbiome research, is gearing up its pilot phase after receiving $10 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.
Long ago, during the European Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci wrote that we humans “know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” Five hundred years and innumerable technological and scientific advances later, his sentiment still holds true. But that could soon change. A new study in Nature Communications details how an improved method for studying microbes in the soil will help scientists understand both fine-grained details and large-scale cycles of the environment.
Marking a step forward in Berkeley Lab’s vision to expand the footprint of the biological and environmental sciences, the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) was dedicated during a two-hour ceremony that culminated in the cutting of a double helix ribbon representing DNA. By uniting leading experts and world-class technologies under one roof, the IGB will help transform plant and microbial genomics research into solutions for today’s most pressing environmental and energy issues.
An open-source RNA analysis platform has been successfully used on plant cells for the first time – a breakthrough that could herald a new era of fundamental research and bolster efforts to engineer more efficient food and biofuel crop plants. The technology, called Drop-seq, is a method for measuring the RNA present in individual cells, allowing scientists to see what genes are being expressed and how this relates to the specific functions of different cell types.
Specific compounds are transformed by and strongly associated with specific bacteria in native biological soil crust (biocrust) using a suite of tools called “exometabolomics.” Understanding how microbial communities in biocrusts adapt to harsh environments could shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle.
Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, are reporting the first whole-genome sequence of a mutant population of Kitaake, a model variety of rice. Their high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations facilitates the discovery of novel genes and functional elements that control diverse biological pathways.
Extending the roots of team science at its birthplace, Berkeley Lab will soon bring together researchers from the DOE Joint Genome Institute with those from the Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) under one roof. The groundbreaking for the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) today celebrates the future colocation of two partnering scientific user community resources and launches construction of the first building in the long-term vision for a consolidated biosciences presence on Berkeley Lab’s main site.
Biocrust’s microbes lie dormant for long periods until precipitation (such as a sudden downpour) awakens them. Understanding more about the interactions between the microbial communities—also called “microbiomes”—in the biocrusts and their adaptations to their harsh environments could provide important clues to help shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle.
MaxBin is an automated software program for binning the genomes of individual microbial species from metagenomic sequences developed at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI).
The Berkeley Open Biofoundry – BOB – is a Berkeley Lab proposal to DARPA aimed at providing the science and technology that will enable the engineering of biological systems to produce valuable chemical products on a commercial scale.