Saturday, 7 July 2018

Exploration of diverse bacteria signals big advance for gene function prediction

Scientists have developed a workflow that enables large-scale, genome-wide assays of gene importance across many conditions. The study, 'Mutant Phenotypes for Thousands of Bacterial Genes of Unknown Function,' has been published in the journal Nature and is by far the largest functional genomics study of bacteria ever published.

Tested on nearly three dozen bacteria from various genera, the workflow combined high-throughput genetics and comparative genomics to identify mutant phenotypes for thousands of genes with previously unknown functions.

The team worked with 32 bacteria, including plant-growth promoting bacteria and a cyanobacterium relevant for biofuels production, as well as bacteria involved in bioremediation.

The data set is publicly accessible for comparative analyses at, a web workbench developed by Morgan Price, the study's lead author, who has also developed powerful tools such as PaperBlast to help interpret results.


Morgan N. Price, Kelly M. Wetmore, R. Jordan Waters, Mark Callaghan, Jayashree Ray, Hualan Liu, Jennifer V. Kuehl, Ryan A. Melnyk, Jacob S. Lamson, Yumi Suh, Hans K. Carlson, Zuelma Esquivel, Harini Sadeeshkumar, Romy Chakraborty, Grant M. Zane, Benjamin E. Rubin, Judy D. Wall, Axel Visel, James Bristow, Matthew J. Blow, Adam P. Arkin, Adam M. Deutschbauer. Mutant phenotypes for thousands of bacterial genes of unknown functionNature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0124-0

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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