New Green Genes (JGI)

  • Funding: Community Science Program - Joint Genome Institute – US
  • Role: Principal Investigator
  • Period: 2021-2024

Genomics research on unicellular green algae (Chlorophyta) is far from having reached its full potential and there is currently a significant bias in sequenced representatives that hampers our understanding of their diversity as well as their role in the environment. Despite thousands of described species (6878 catalogued in AlgaeBase) from 13 different lineages, only 89 Chlorophyta nuclear genomes are available in GenBank. Of these, more than 80% are restricted to two groups of organisms that either serve as model systems (e.g. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) or are considered of economic importance (e.g. Chlorella and Nannochloris). Here, we propose to fill the gap in the Chlorophyta tree by selecting genomes from under-represented unicellular green lineages. Our selection includes organisms from marine (pelagic, bathypelagic and benthic), freshwater, terrestrial and sea ice environments. The key objective of this project is to improve our understanding of the evolution of genome architectures, gene sequences, and metabolic capacities across the Chlorophyta. The proposed organisms are also of interest for the manufacturing of biofuels, bioplastics and other bioproducts as well as for the environmental engineering of diverse microbiomes and thus, are of central relevance to the DOE mission. This project is also well aligned with JGI’s ``Beyond Basepairs'' strategic plan, since the data produced will provide a wealth of genomic information spanning the entire Chlorophyta phylogenetic branch, setting the path for the development of new model organisms and genetic tools.


Adriana Lopes dos Santos
Adriana Lopes dos Santos
Assistant Professor