by Kathy Chambers 20 Jun, 2014 in
Genomes 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...Read more...