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Biological Sciences Division
Research Highlights

September 2008

Photosynthesizing Bacteria with a Day-Night Cycle Contain Rare Chromosome

Novel linear chromosome of cyanobacterium harbors genes important for fuel production

RICHLAND, Wash. - Researchers sequencing the DNA of blue-green algae found a linear chromosome harboring genes important for producing biofuels. Simultaneously analyzing the complement of proteins revealed more genes on the linear and the typical circular chromosomes than they'd have found with DNA sequencing alone.

The team reported the cyanobacterium Cyanothece 51142's genome the week of September 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Overlaying protein data let the researchers pinpoint about 16 percent more genes than by DNA sequencing alone. The collaboration included a proteomics team from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a gene sequencing team from the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center, and researchers from Washington University, Saint Louis University, and Purdue University.

"This is the first time anything like this has been found in photosynthetic bacteria. It's extremely rare for bacteria to have a linear chromosome," said team leader Himadri Pakrasi from WUSTL. "Nearly 100 percent of them do not."

Full Press Release: http://www.pnl.gov/news/release.asp?id=327


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