NEW YORK, July 1 - Scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research have completed the sequence of the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium tepidum.
Researchers hope that understanding this bacterium may shed light on the evolutionary relationship between bacteria and eukaryotic organelles found in plants.
The bacterium, native to sulfur-rich hot springs in New Zealand, generates energy from light in a manner somewhat similar to the technique used by plant chloroplasts. Unlike plants, though, this bacterium relies on sulfur compounds to turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into energy-producing molecules, and does not produce oxygen through photosynthesis.
C. tepidum has one chromosome, 2,288 genes, and 2.2 million base pairs. A paper describing the bacterium appears in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The sequencing effort is part of a larger US Department of Energy project to understand environmental systems and energy production among microbes, said lead author Jonathan Eisen, a TIGR researcher.
"There are lot of reasons to be interested in it," he said. "It's from a phylum of bacteria for which there are no genome sequence available. DOE is also interested because it has unusual mechanisms of photosynthesis."