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MMC to Present Dept. of Energy Genome Findings


Published Date5\2\2012
The Mount Marty College Division of Natural Sciences' Seminar on the "Interpret a Genome" program will be held this Friday, May 4 at 3pm in SLC 107 on the Yankton campus.

It was announced in December that Mount Marty College's biology department was one of just 16 undergraduate institutions internationally to be selected by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint Genome Institute as a new collaborator. In February, MMC was assigned the bacteria Spirochaeta coccoides (S. coccoides) strain SPN1 as their microbial genome and was instructed to annotate the function of the genes encoded in it. The "Interpret a Genome" program provides students in colleges and universities with access to recently sequenced microbial genomes selected as part of the DOE JGI's Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) project. The students annotate the genomes in the context of their own classwork, gaining hands-on knowledge.

The DOE is particularly interested in the MMC microbe since it ferments different carbohydrates and produces ethanol, acetate, and formate as the main fermentation end products. Thus, this microorganism could possibly be used in the direct bioconversion of cellulose-containing wastes to fuel such as ethanol or it may harbor enzymes with potential biotechnological applications.

Mount Marty College students in Dr. Vicki Geiser's Cell and Molecular Biology course have been learning how to annotate the function of genes in the MMC genome this semester. These students will present their initial findings of the "Interpret a Genome" program at the Division of Natural Science's Seminar on Friday, May 4 at 3pm on MMC's Yankton Campus in the Scholastica Learning Center (SLC-107). The public is invited to hear the students' research results and to discover more about bioinformatics and Mount Marty College's microbe, Spirochaeta coccoides strain SPN1.

For more information on the DOE JGI program, visit www.jgi.doe.gov.