Shotgun sequencing of the ocean reveals 1.2 million new genes in a single sweep | By Cathy Holding
New horizons in oceanography and genomics were opened up this week with the publication by Craig Venter and colleagues of a pilot study to shotgun clone and sequence microbial genomes filtered from seawater in the Sargasso Sea, off the coast of Bermuda (Science, DOI:10.1126/science.1093857, March 4, 2004).
More than 1.2 million new genes were identified, revealing a level of microbial diversity in seawater that was only previously guessed at. More than 700 of those were new rhodopsin-like photoreceptors.
“At the time of writing the paper, there were roughly 180,000 genes and proteins in Swiss-Prot [the curated protein database],” Venter told The Scientist. “In one paper, we're adding 1.2 or 1.3 million [genes].”
Venter said his group had extended the shotgun method to take it from single genomes to entire environments. “The level of discovery is truly extraordinary,” he said.
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