Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sequencing 'Dark Matter' of Life: Elusive Genomes of Thousands of Bacteria Species Can Now Be Decoded

In a recent published study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego along with scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute and Illumina Inc. were able to create a new algorithm that greatly increased the ability of researches to sequence the DNA of bacteria from a single cell. This development allows scientists to sequence and analyze the genomes of thousands of species of bacteria that were previously inaccessible and impossible to study due to their environment-specific nature. Many of these bacteria only function in extreme conditions that are difficult to reproduce for a billion cells in a lab. Therefore, the ability to sequence the genome of a bacterium from one single cell is truly revolutionary. Scientists can now understand how bacteria move, live, and interact in a variety of settings. With the ubiquitous presence of bacteria in the human body, this occurrence also allows scientists to better comprehend how bacteria interact in different organs.

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