New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis


Share post:

Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. For example, little is known about how it is regulated in response to changes in light intensity. More fundamentally, we do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism.

New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii scanning electron microscope
[Credit: Dartmouth University]

A type of single-cell green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a leading subject for photosynthesis research. Despite its importance in the research world, few tools are available for characterizing the functions of its genes.

A team including Carnegie’s Martin Jonikas developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists by making large-scale genetic characterization of Chlamydomonas mutants possible for the first time. Their work is published by The Plant Cell.

Their tool is a major step forward in the goal of identifying the genes that are necessary for photosynthesis, as well as other cellular functions such as the production of oily fats that are crucial for biofuel development. The use of similar tools for non-photosynthetic, single-celled organisms has revolutionized the understanding of cellular processes in bacteria and yeast, as well as animals.

“Our sequencing tool enables genotyping Chlamydomonas on an unprecedented scale, opening the door to comprehensive identification of genes required for photosynthesis,” Jonikas said.

Source: Carnegie Institution [April 15, 2014]



Related articles

13th century Ilkanid-era pottery unearthed in Iran

Archaeological excavations have uncovered pottery objects dating back to Ilkhanid (Mongolian) era in Isfahan’s Feizabad archaeological site. Excavations in...

Mapping human activity during the last glacial maximum in Australia

A series of reviews of Australian archaeological studies is helping to formulate a theory of how and when...

Warmer Pacific Ocean could release millions of tons of seafloor methane

Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor....

Strange galaxy perplexes astronomers

With the help of citizen scientists, a team of astronomers has found an important new example of a...

Braincase anatomy of late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid revealed

The late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid Alioramus altai is known from a single specimen whose articulated braincase exhibits a nearly...

Biodiversity higher in the tropics, but species more likely to arise at higher latitudes

A new study of 2300 species of mammals and nearly 6700 species of birds from across the globe...

Ruins of ancient city Loulan discovered in Xinjiang

Archaeologists have inferred that ruins found in Lop Nur in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region may actually be from...

7-Million-year-old Beaver teeth found in Oregon

The Bureau of Land Management says a fossil found by employees on federal land represents the earliest record...