Biotechnology

Halorubrum salsolis Sequencing Project

What is Halorubrum salsolis:

Spiral Jetty with H. salsolis

Halorubrum salsolis is a type of special archaea which are native to the Great Salt Lake.

The microbe, initially discovered in 2006, was named by two school children who participated in a naming contest for the new species. Each child suggested the name "salsolis" which comes from the latin roots for salt, "sal", and sun, "solis".

Some of the unique characteristics of this halophile (salt-loving) archaea is that it lives in water 10 times saltier than the seawater as well as it possesses an extreme abundance of carotinoid pigments, blocking out the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) light and resulting in the bacteria being completely resistant to UV radiation.

Researchers and scientists hope that by studying these micro-organisms, they will be able to develop better ways to protect people from the sun's harmful UV radiation.


What We've Done:

Over the past few years we have had over 1,500 high school student participate in the sequencing of H. salsolis.  The students went through the process of preparing the growth media, growing, isolating, digesting, ligating, transforming and sequencing the genomic DNA.  Due to their collective efforts we have processed 27,446 unique sequence reactions generating 12,258,894 base pairs.


What We're Doing:

Halo Summer Science Institute 2013:

Due to our collective efforts over the last couple of years, we are closing in on what we hope is a draft version of the H. salsolis genome.  What we are proposing to do this summer is use that genome to zero in on enzymes that have industrial applications.  Our plan is to identify these genes, clone them into expression vectors, and attempt to express them in E. coli over the course of our week-long workshop.  We will work through the identification of the target genes, primer design and PCR cloning strategies, expression technology, and perhaps even get around to attempting some activity assays.


Who's Participating:

Key:
Yellow - College/University
Red - Core Biotechnology Teachers
Blue - Peer Collaboration
Camera - Field Study

Halorubrum Sequencing Project

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0856770.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.