Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photosynthesis Genes Linked To Marine Virus Fitness

Date:
February 17, 2009
Source:
Northeastern University
Summary:
A recent study has shown, for the first time, the effect of individual genes on the fitness of a marine species at the ecosystem level. Using his innovative computer simulation model, an engineering professor has found that eliminating photosynthesis genes from viruses that attack important marine photosynthetic bacterial organisms will negatively impact the fitness of these viruses, ultimately killing them.

A recent Northeastern University study has shown, for the first time, the effect of individual genes on the fitness of a marine species at the ecosystem level. Using his innovative computer simulation model, engineering professor Ferdi Hellweger found that eliminating photosynthesis genes from viruses that attack important marine photosynthetic bacterial organisms will negatively impact the fitness of these viruses, ultimately killing them.

The findings, published in the journal Environmental Microbiology, have led to a new interdisciplinary field called “systems bioecology.” Combining systems biology and ecology, systems bioecology uses computer simulation to better understand the role of individual genes at the ecosystem scale.

With his computer simulation model, Hellweger “knocked out” the photosynthesis genes of cyanophages (viruses that attack marine cyanobacteria species such as Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus) to compare the fitness-level of these viruses to those containing the genes. Simulating a ten-year time span, he found that viruses without the photosynthesis genes were dead while the ones with the genes present survive.

The findings demonstrate that the fitness of cyanophage viruses is positively affected by the presence of photosynthesis genes.

Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus are known to be the most abundant photosynthetic organisms on Earth and play a major role in our carbon and climate cycles and the ocean ecosystem. Thus, finding out what factors influence the fitness and destructive impact of marine viruses on these bacteria is crucial in order to better understand the ecosystem.

The innovative computer simulation model can be expanded and modified using different genes and applying it to different species of other marine bacteria.

“Most of the biological science that comes out today is at the molecular level, but our models have not reached that point,” said Hellweger. “Systems bioecology has the potential for becoming widely used and the ‘method of choice’ for simulation in the post-genomic era.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northeastern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northeastern University. "Photosynthesis Genes Linked To Marine Virus Fitness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205183849.htm>.
Northeastern University. (2009, February 17). Photosynthesis Genes Linked To Marine Virus Fitness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205183849.htm
Northeastern University. "Photosynthesis Genes Linked To Marine Virus Fitness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205183849.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins