Capturing Carbon in the Oceans: Second Diatom Genome Sequenced at DOE-Joint Genome Institute (JGI)


In the November 13, 2008, issue of Nature, a 77-person team of researchers from 31 scientific institutions including the JGI, reports the complete sequence of a second diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and an initial comparison with the first sequenced diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, also sequenced at the DOE-JGI. Responsible for up to 40% of CO2 capture in the oceans, diatoms play major roles in global carbon sequestration and processing. Preliminary analysis of the P. tricornutum genome suggests a significant degree of acquisition of large sets of genes (perhaps more than 5%) from prokaryotic organisms with subsequent adaptation to the needs of the diatom for carbon and nitrogen processing.