Current Research is performed at the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboartory (LBNL) and the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) under the supervision of Dr. Edward Rubin, Director of the JGI and Senior Staff Scientist, Life Sciences Division/ Genome Sciences at LBNL.

   Metagenomics is the culture-independent genomic analysis of microorganisms/ microbial communities.  This new approach not only address the challenge of studying prokaryotes in various environments that are, as yet, unculturable and which are estimated to represent more than 99% of all existing microorganisms, but also aids the discovery of new molecules such as antibiotics and enzymes.

   To obtain useful information from such metagenomic libraries two analyses have been developed: a function-driven approach, in which metagenomic libraries are screened for an expressed trait; and a sequence-driven approach, in which libraries are initially screened for particular DNA sequences.

   Recent work emphasizes on the reconstruction of genomes of uncultured organisms by identifying overlapping fragments in metagenomic libraries and ‘walking’, clone to clone, to assemble each chromosome.  Metabolic and functional pathways will then be reconstructed ‘in silico’.


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