Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

MSU Leads Largest Soil DNA Sequencing Effort

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Study also created a new analytic approach, which makes interpreting the data much easier.

Scientists from Michigan State University have led the largest soil DNA sequencing effort to date, which sheds light on one of the planet’s largest microbial populations.

Considering that a single spoonful of soil holds hundreds of billions of microbial cells, encompassing thousands of species, it’s no wonder that the daunting task of an accurate census has never been undertaken.

MSU scientists, working with colleagues from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, published their findings in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It’s one of the most diverse microbial habitats on Earth, yet we know surprisingly little about the identities and functions of the microbes inhabiting soil,” said Jim Tiedje, MSU Distinguished Professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and of plant, soil and microbial sciences, and one of the co-authors.

Since the release of the first human genome, the applications of DNA sequencing have been extended as a powerful diagnostic technique for gauging the health of the planet’s diverse ecological niches and their responsiveness to change. The team’s results provide a simple, elegant solution to sifting through the deluge of information gleaned, as well as a sobering reality check on just how hard a challenge these environments will be.

The team compared microbial populations of different soils sampled from Midwestern cornfields, under continuous cultivation for 100 years, with those sourced from pristine expanses of prairie.

“The Great Plains represents the largest expanse of the world’s most fertile soils, which makes it important as a reference site and for understanding the biological basis and ecosystem services of its microbial community,” Tiedje said. “It sequesters the most carbon of any soil system in the U.S. and produces large amounts of biomass annually, which is key for biofuels, food security and carbon sequestration.”

As part of the study, the researchers created a new analytic approach, which makes interpreting the data much easier. They offered a data management “democratization” that empowers scientists who don’t have access to cloud- and high-performance computing, to analyze the data

It’s comparable to how large jpeg files are shared over the Internet, a process that sheds a substantial amount of data without compromising the image, said C. Titus Brown, MSU assistant professor in bioinformatics.

“I think this can lead to a fundamental shift in thinking,” he said. “We are actually converting standard, heavyweight approaches in biological sequence analysis to an ultra-efficient streaming approach.”

Even though the study provided 400 billion bases of data, however, it was still insufficient to interrogate the microbial players in the localized soil sample deeply enough, confirming that much more data are needed to study the content of soil metagenomes comprehensively, said Adina Chuang Howe, MSU postdoctoral student of bioinformatics and lead author.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Molecular Map Provides Clues To Zinc-Related Diseases
Mapping the molecular structure where medicine goes to work is a crucial step toward drug discovery against deadly diseases.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Genetic Markers Influence Addiction
Differences in vulnerability to cocaine addiction and relapse linked to both inherited traits and epigenetics, U-M researchers find.
Friday, April 29, 2016
MSU to Lead $6.5 Million Research on Disease Resistance in Cucurbits
A national team of 20 scientists led by Michigan State University has been awarded $6.5 million grant to accelerate the development of disease-resistant cucurbit crops through leveraging applied genomics.
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Researchers Pioneer Use of Capsules to Save Materials
Wax capsule delivery systems can simplify a wide range of chemistry transformations.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Fingerprint Accuracy Stays The Same Over Time
Researchers have shown that fingerprint recognition accuracy remains stable in subjects apprehended multiple times over a period of 5 to 12 years.
Friday, July 24, 2015
MSU Scientists Uncover a ‘Funky Cofactor’
While examining the chemical reactions of bacterial cells in a lab at Michigan State University, researchers found an unusually complex molecule in a protein that completes a simple process.
Thursday, July 09, 2015
Perennial Biofuel Crops’ Water Consumption Similar to Corn
A recent study looks at how efficiently “second-generation” biofuel crops—perennial, non-food crops such as switchgrass or native grasses—use rainwater and how these crops affect overall water balance.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Heartbeat on a Chip Could Improve Pharmaceutical Tests
A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
‘Fracture’ Prints, Not Fingerprints, Help Solve Child Abuse Cases
Much like a finger leaves its own unique print to help identify a person, researchers are now discovering that skull fractures leave certain signatures that can help investigators better determine what caused the injury.
Monday, May 11, 2015
A Poisonous Cure
Toxic fungi may hold the secrets to tackling deadly diseases.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Identifying the Source of Stem Cells
Researchers discover that Sox2 gene could determine the source of stem cells in mammals.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
New, Fossil-fuel-free Process Makes Biodiesel Sustainable
A new fuel-cell concept, developed by a Michigan State University researcher, will allow biodiesel plants to eliminate the creation of hazardous wastes while removing their dependence on fossil fuel from their production process.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
How Do You Feed 9 Billion People?
An international team of scientists has developed crop models to better forecast food production to feed a growing population in the face of climate change.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Protein Strongest Just Before Death
Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered a protein that does its best work with one foot in the grave.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
MSU Researchers Decode Deadly E. coli Strain
Highly virulent strain of E. coli lead to 54 deaths in Germany.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Scientific News
How it Works: Advanced Data Analysis Using Visualization
Visualisation of data can be used to help molecular biologists tackle the vast datasets their experiments create.
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Ebola-Affected Countries Receive NIH Support
The National Institutes of Health has established a new program to further research capacity to study Ebola and other epidemics.
Skin Patch to Treat Peanut Allergy
NIH-funded study suggests peanut protein patch is a safe and convenient method of treatment.
Molecular Origins of Dust Mite Allergy Discovered
Scientists have identified molecules of house dust mites that are targeted by the immune system of children, developing allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Scientists Uncover Why Hepatitis C Vaccine is Difficult to Make
Scientists have uncovered one reason why a successful hepatitis C vaccine continues to be elusive.
Robotic Cleaning Technique Could Automate Neuroscience Research
New robotic cleaning technique allows pipettes used in patch-clamping to be re-used up to 11 or more times.
Startup Seeks More Precise Prostate Cancer Screening
Gregor Diagnostics aims to bring a non-invasive prostate cancer screening test to the market.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos