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.
Berkeley Lab researchers found thousands of gene enhancers – regulatory sequences of DNA that act to turn-on or amplify the expression of a specific gene – that are involved in the development of the human face. These enhancers help explain why every human face is as unique as a fingerprint.
A multi-institutional collaboration led by researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Joint Genome Institute (JGI) has developed a promising technique for identifying microbial enzymes that can effectively deconstruct biomass into fuel sugars under refinery processing conditions.
In cosmology, dark matter is said to account for the majority of mass in the universe. The biological equivalent is “microbial dark matter,” that pervasive yet practically invisible infrastructure of life on the planet, which can have profound influences on the most significant environmental processes from plant growth and health, to nutrient cycles in terrestrial and marine environments, the global carbon cycle, and possibly even climate processes. By employing next generation DNA sequencing of genomes isolated from single cells, an international collaboration led by the Joint Genome Institute is making great strides in the monumental task of systematically bringing to light and filling in uncharted branches in the bacterial and archaeal tree of life.