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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Comparing the dehalogenase gene pool in cultivated alpha-halocarboxylic acid-degrading bacteria with the environmental metagene pool.

Culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches were used to determine the relationship between the dehalogenase gene pool in bacteria enriched and isolated on 2,2-dichloropropionic acid (22DCPA) and the environmental metagene pool (the collective gene pool of both the culturable and uncultured microbes) from which they were isolated. The dehalogenases in the pure-cultures isolates, which were able to degrade 22DCPA, were similar to previously described group I and II dehalogenases. Significantly, the majority of the dehalogenases isolated from activated sludge by degenerate PCR with primers specific for alpha-halocarboxylic acid dehalogenases were not closely related to the dehalogenases in any isolate. Furthermore, the dehalogenases found in the pure cultures predominated in the enrichments but were a minor component of the community used to inoculate the batch cultures. Phylogenetic analysis of the dehalogenase sequences isolated by degenerate PCR showed that the diversity of the group II deh gene was greater than that of the group I deh gene. Direct plating of the activated sludge onto minimal media supplemented with 22DCPA resulted in biomass and DNA from which dehalogenases were amplified. Analysis of the sequences revealed that they were much more closely related to the sequences found in the community used to start the enrichments. However, no pure cultures were obtained with this isolation method, and thus no pure cultures were available for identification. In this study we examined the link between genes found in pure cultures with the metagene pool from which they were isolated. The results show that there is a large bias introduced by culturing, not just in the bacteria isolated but also the degradative genes that they contain. Moreover, our findings serve as a caveat for studies involving the culturing of pure cultures of bacteria and conclusions which are drawn from analysis of these organisms.[1]


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