Culturing Project Grows

Yellows, oranges, pinks, and greens – these may sound like the colors of spring, but at GMGI they describe something even more exciting. GMGI’s Genome Mining Project has taken over a section of our research lab with hundreds of petri dishes full of colorful bacteria and fungi cultures. We are exploring the untapped diversity of microscopic marine organisms collected from the ocean floor. Many of these microbial organisms may be novel species and could become the next important source of naturally occurring compounds with potential therapeutic and commercial applications.

The samples for this project were collected on a sunny afternoon last October when GMGI staff left the Gloucester waterfront on the Schooner Ardell. With almost 400 years of rich maritime history, Gloucester Harbor provides a beautiful, biologically interesting study site. During the excursion, sediment samples were collected from both the inner and outer harbor ocean floors in order to compare how distance from the working waterfront affects microbe populations. Since then, additional samples have been collected at the docks of Maritime Gloucester and 417 Main Street where construction of GMGI’s new research facility is currently underway.

Back in the lab samples were grown on petri dishes, with individual bacteria and fungi isolated for identification via sequencing. Based on the sequencing data, GMGI scientists will identify which bacteria and fungi are novel and to be designated for further analysis. Our scientists are now waiting in suspense as the sequencing instruments run the long process of DNA sequencing. Stay tuned to see what they find.

GMGI would like to extend a special thanks to the Schooner Ardelle for hosting our first sampling expedition -- and Maritime Gloucester for access to an additional sampling site.

Click here to view the June 2018 Newsletter >>

Snowflake-like Culture

Steve Connolly Seafood Company, Gloucester

Elizabeth Brannon, PhD, Research Associate, with a culturing sample in the GMGI lab

LEFT: GMGI staff aboard the Schooner Ardelle
RIGHT: Jennifer Polinski, Research Associate III, gathers a sample from the Gloucester Harbor floor

Our mission is to conduct world-class marine biotechnology research which expands the regional economy.

Gloucester Marine
Genomics Institute

417 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

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