Emory University, Joint Genome Institute, and University of Wisconsin scientists plan to sequence 17 genomes — a variety of ants, bacteria, and fungi — with the goal of discovering new ways of making biofuels. In the rainforest there is a symbiotic relationship among ants, bacteria, and fungi. Leaf cutter ants bring pieces of leaves back to their nests, where fungi break the leaves down. The ants then use the sugar for food and carry the remaining parts of the leaves back outside where bacteria continue to work on breaking down the leaves. This process, says the Discovery News article, gets the most energy out of the leaves as possible. "Locked inside the community genome could be clues that could eventually lead scientists to new enzymes or techniques that could enable humans to produce biofuels more efficiently," the article says.
Ants, Bacteria, and Fungi. Oh, My
Jul 07, 2009