DNA patterns of microbes

Jun 25, 2009
Photo: Stein Marvold

(PhysOrg.com) -- The genomes or DNA of microbes contain defined DNA patterns called genome signatures. Such signatures may be used to establish relationships and to search for DNA from viruses or other organisms in the microbes' genomes. Foreign DNA in bacteria has often been associated with disease-causing abilities.

In his doctorate, Jon Bohlin studied methods for examining the signatures of . Since foreign DNA in the genomes of bacteria often give the bacteria disease-causing abilities, part of his work was aimed at developing fast and simple methods for finding foreign DNA.

The explosive development in technology for sequencing DNA molecules has made enormous amounts of available for analysis. This has both led to an upheaval in biological research and simultaneously created a great need for fast and effective methods of interpreting the steadily increasing amounts of information.

To solve the challenges that these large amounts of information present, bioinformational research is utilising techniques taken from statistical, mathematical and information technologies. Most of the methods that were used in this project were originally established in the field of theoretical bioinformation. However, because of insufficient information, it was not previously possible to investigate the methods properly.

Bioinformational methods reveal a complex picture of the microbial genome

The increasing number of sequenced genomes that has become available during recent years has made it possible to test the methods' advantages and disadvantages, possibilities and limitations. This has given us more reliable information on how different microbes' DNA composition is influenced by environment and lifestyle.

The methods can also be used to deepen our understanding of the evolutionary development that follows natural selection at the DNA level. Such knowledge is absolutely necessary to understand mechanisms leading to becoming pathogenic (disease-producing) and resistant to antibiotics.

This doctorate comprises analyses of the genome signatures of microbes, and describes how genome signatures vary in the genomes of both closely-related microbes and among different microbial genomes. One of the central questions is how environment influences the genome signatures and if this influence may be may be linked to different characteristics of the microbes, such as size, composition, lifestyle and niche.

Cand. scient. Jon Bohlin defended his Ph. D. thesis, entitled "Genomic signatures in prokaryotic genomes", at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, on June 5, 2009.

Source: Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

Related Stories

Bigelow laboratory scientists doach to study marine microbes

May 21, 2007

In a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Ramunas Stepanauskas and Dr. Michael Sieracki have proven a new method of identifying genetic codes of ocean microbes from a sing ...

On the trail of rogue genetically modified pathogens

Mar 18, 2008

Bacteria can be used to engineer genetic modifications, thereby providing scientists with a tool to combat many challenges in areas from food production to drug discovery. However, this sophisticated technology can also be ...

Sequencing Our Seas

Jan 26, 2006

Scientists have sequenced and compared the genomes of planktonic microbes living throughout the water column in the Pacific Ocean. The pioneering study yielded insight into the specialization of microbial communities ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

17 hours ago

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed.

Stopping Candida in its tracks

Jul 03, 2015

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how a normally harmless fungus changes to become a deadly infectious agent.

New technique maps elusive chemical markers on proteins

Jul 02, 2015

Unveiling how the 20,000 or so proteins in the human body work—and malfunction—is the key to understanding much of health and disease. Now, Salk researchers developed a new technique that allows scientists ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.