Annotating unknown microbial gene functions with organic matter change (2016–2019)
Microbes are pervasive on Earth. It is now possible to directly sequence the genomes of hundreds of microbes present in a sample, effectively capturing their collective genetic potential. However the function of most genes encoded on these genomes remains elusive, leaving large gaps in our understanding of most ecosystems. This project will develop new methods to assign function to uncharacterised genes, by correlating changes in metabolite abundance with gene expression in a model permafrost thaw peatland. Providing function to uncharacterised genes has widespread implications for the field of microbial ecology and its numerous real-world applications, from soil greenhouse gas emission to understanding human intestinal flora.