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Genomic Prospecting for Microbial Biodiesel Production

Description: Biodiesel is defined as fatty acid mono-alkylesters and is produced from triacylglycerols. In the current article we provide an overview of the structure, diversity and regulation of the metabolic pathways leading to intracellular fatty acid and triacylglycerol accumulation in three types of organisms (bacteria, algae and fungi) of potential biotechnological interest and discuss possible intervention points to increase the cellular lipid content. The key steps that regulate carbon allocation and distribution in lipids include the formation of malonyl-CoA, the synthesis of fatty acids and their attachment onto the glycerol backbone, and the formation of triacylglycerols. The lipid biosynthetic genes and pathways are largely known for select model organisms. Comparative genomics allows the examination of these pathways in organisms of biotechnological interest and reveals the evolution of divergent and yet uncharacterized regulatory mechanisms. Utilization of microbial systems for triacylglycerol and fatty acid production is in its infancy; however, genomic information and technologies combined with synthetic biology concepts provide the opportunity to further exploit microbes for the competitive production of biodiesel.
Date: March 20, 2008
Creator: Lykidis, Athanasios; Lykidis, Athanasios & Ivanova, Natalia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Genome Sequence Databases (Overview): Sequencing and Assembly

Description: From the date its role in heredity was discovered, DNA has been generating interest among scientists from different fields of knowledge: physicists have studied the three dimensional structure of the DNA molecule, biologists tried to decode the secrets of life hidden within these long molecules, and technologists invent and improve methods of DNA analysis. The analysis of the nucleotide sequence of DNA occupies a special place among the methods developed. Thanks to the variety of sequencing technologies available, the process of decoding the sequence of genomic DNA (or whole genome sequencing) has become robust and inexpensive. Meanwhile the assembly of whole genome sequences remains a challenging task. In addition to the need to assemble millions of DNA fragments of different length (from 35 bp (Solexa) to 800 bp (Sanger)), great interest in analysis of microbial communities (metagenomes) of different complexities raises new problems and pushes some new requirements for sequence assembly tools to the forefront. The genome assembly process can be divided into two steps: draft assembly and assembly improvement (finishing). Despite the fact that automatically performed assembly (or draft assembly) is capable of covering up to 98% of the genome, in most cases, it still contains incorrectly assembled reads. The error rate of the consensus sequence produced at this stage is about 1/2000 bp. A finished genome represents the genome assembly of much higher accuracy (with no gaps or incorrectly assembled areas) and quality ({approx}1 error/10,000 bp), validated through a number of computer and laboratory experiments.
Date: January 1, 2009
Creator: Lapidus, Alla L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department