Algae Genome Is Sequenced But Many Mysteries Abound

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In Texas, researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have sequenced the genome for the biofuel microalga Botryococcus brauniii, which is colony-forming and produces large amounts of hydrocarbons which can be converted to biofuels. This particular strain of algae can be processed in existing petroleum systems to produce fuel, but researchers are focusing on understanding the algae’s genetic makeup and how to alter its hydrocarbon production to make more oil or different kinds of oil. They are also going to compare it to other known algae and plant genomes to understand differences and similarities, though it’s no easy task as this strain alone as about 18,500 genes with 166 million bases. The genome sequencing is the beginning step to trying to understand this algae strain and its hydrocarbon production for oil and biofuels.