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OSTIblog Articles in the genomics Topic


by Kathy Chambers 20 Jun, 2014 in

Image: N. Watson, L. Thompson, MITImage: N. Watson, L. Thompson, MITGenomes of individual organisms and systems of organisms contain the information and operating capabilities that determine structure and function across multiple scales of biological organization. These complex systems hold the secrets of life. Because we do not yet have a full understanding of how a living system works, and how these organisms interact with and modify their environments, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Genomic Science Program is working to achieve a predictive, system-level understanding of plants, microbes, and biological communities. This program is providing the foundational knowledge underlying biological approaches to producing biofuels, sequestering carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, and cleaning up contaminated environments.

An example of the progress being made with genomic research is the work being done by Sally W. (Penny) Chisholm, a U.S. biological oceanographer and faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). According to MIT, Chisholm’s studies of dominant photosynthetic organisms of the sea have revolutionized our understanding of life in the world’s oceans. Chisholm was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2013 for her outstanding contribution to science.   

Chisholm led a team that discovered the ocean phytoplankton Prochlorococcus – the world’s smallest and most abundant photosynthetic organism. She and her team also utilized flow cytometry...

Related Topics: genomics, In the OSTI Collections, MIT, Prochlorococcus, Sally W. Chisholm


DOE and Human Genome Research


DOE and Human Genome Research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has historically played a leading role in supporting human genome research.  March 2014 is the anniversary of the 1986 Santa Fe Workshop, which brought together participants from government, academia, and the private sector to explore the possibility of sequencing the human genome.  This workshop was sponsored by DOE and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  The Human Genome Project (HGP) was formalized in mid-February 1990.

In honor of the anniversary of the Santa Fe Workshop, DOE R&D Accomplishments has published a new feature page, Human Genome Research: DOE Origins.  This page describes the key role played by Charles DeLisi, then Associate Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER) in conceiving the idea for a program to sequence the human genome.  The Santa Fe Workshop met DeLisi’s goal of laying out an approach to sequence the human genome. 

This new feature page complements a previously published DOE R&D Accomplishments feature page, Human Genome Research: Decoding DNA.  By April 2000, DOE researchers had decoded in draft form the genetic information on human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, or an estimated 11 percent of the total human genome.  In June of that year, a ‘working draft’ that included a road map to an estimated 90% of the genes on every chromosome was announced. 

Each of these feature pages also include associated information resources, including links to full-text DOE technical reports and additional web sites relating to the Human Genome initiative.

Related Topics: Charles DeLisi, DNA, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, genomics, Human Genome Project, Santa Fe Workshop, sequencing


Managing the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Project Information


Managing the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Project Information

OSTI’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate DOE-sponsored R&D results emanating from research projects at DOE Laboratories and facilities and from grantees at universities and other institutions.  OSTI performs its mission through many avenues, one of which includes supporting its parent organization within DOE, the Office of Science (SC), and the research programs within SC.

Since 1995, OSTI has provided assistance and support to the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) by developing and maintaining a database of BER research project information.  Called the BER Abstracts Database (, it contains summaries of research projects supported by the program.  Made up of two divisions, Biological Systems Science Division and Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER is responsible for world-class biological and environmental research programs and scientific user facilities.  BER’s research program is closely aligned with DOE’s mission goals and focuses on two main areas:  the Nation’s Energy Security (developing cost-effective cellulosic biofuels) and the Nation’s Environmental Future (improving the ability to understand, predict, and mitigate the impacts of energy production and use on climate change).

The BER Abstracts Database is publicly available to scientists, researchers, and interested citizens.  Each BER research project is represented in the database, including both current/active projects and historical projects dating back to 1995.  The information available on each research project includes:  project title, abstract, principal investigator, research institution, research area, project term, and funding.  Users may conduct basic or advanced searches, and various sorting and downloading options are available.  BER provides the basic project information to OSTI for the database.  At the direction of BER,...

Related Topics: biological sciences, biotechnology, environmental sciences, genomics, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (OBER) Abstracts Database