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2001 Annual Science Report

Pennsylvania State University Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

GEOPULSE (Gene Expression of Observations for Planetary Life Study)

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Gene Expression of Observations for Planetary Life Study (dm)

Carbon Isotopic Fractionation in Diverse Microorganisms:We are studying the carbon isotopic fractionation in diverse prokaryotes.

Pyrobaculum as a model organism for the study of geomicrobiology in a hydrothermal vent setting: Progress on this project has been slower than expected. We have run one preliminary metal extraction experiment looking at Pyrobaculum islandicum in a low iron medium in the presence of basaltic glass. We have also been developing a PCR-based method of monitoring changes in gene expression with Pyrobaculum aerophilum.

Carbon isotopic analysis of individual microfossils and microorganisms: Great progress on the application of secondary mass spectrometry to microbial samples has been made over the last year. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, we have used the ion microprobe to identify the archaeal microorganisms responsible for anaerobic methane oxidation. Work on the analysis of microfossils has not proceeded as quickly as planned pending the development of new standards. The development work will continue during the summer.

Whole genome-based phylogenetic trees of life: We have updated our whole genome-based tree of life to include 27 free and nonĂ¢??free living genomes. We have compared the results from the free-living and the non-free-living genomes. We have also compared our results with other published methods of whole genomic phylogenetic analysis, as well as investigated the usefulness of partial genome sequences. Our progress is slightly behind predicted goals.

    Susan Brantley

    Katherine Freeman

    Edward DeLong

    Sorel Fitz-Gibbon

    Kai-Uwe Hinrichs

    Christopher House

    Kevin McKeegan

    Jeffrey Miller

    James Schopf

    Jim Moran
    Doctoral Student

    Aubrey Zerkle
    Doctoral Student

    Victoria Orphan
    Graduate Student

    Jonathon Millen
    Undergraduate Student

    Kimberly Moran
    Undergraduate Student

    Janna Rauzin
    Undergraduate Student

    Phil Sorber
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 4.0
    Expand and interpret the genomic database of a select group of key microorganisms in order to reveal the history and dynamics of evolution.

    Objective 5.0
    Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.

    Objective 6.0
    Define how ecophysiological processes structure microbial communities, influence their adaptation and evolution, and affect their detection on other planets.

    Objective 8.0
    Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.