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interview with Dr Nicholas H. Bergman on DNA Sequencing

  • Broadcast in Science
Courtney Becker-Jame

Courtney Becker-Jame


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An interview with Dr Nicholas H. Bergman, Principal Investigator and Genomics Team Leader at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, Department of Homeland Security, USA. Although more than a thousand bacterial genomes have been sequenced, our understanding of bacterial transcriptomes has lagged far behind. Transcript structure, operon linkages, and absolute mRNA abundance information all provide valuable insights into gene function and regulation, but these aspects of the prokaryotic transcriptome have only been explored on a large scale in a few instances. This interview will give insight to how the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center is using a sequencing-based approach (RNA-Seq) in assembling the first comprehensive, single-nucleotide resolution view of a bacterial transcriptome. We sampled the Bacillus anthracis transcriptome using the ABI SOLiD platform, and mapped transcript start sites and operon structure throughout the genome. Our data also provide estimates of absolute transcript abundance on a global scale, and they suggest there is significant transcriptional heterogeneity within a clonal, synchronised bacterial population. Overall, our results offer an unprecedented view of gene expression and regulation in a bacterial cell. Dr Bergman will be speaking at the IQPC Next-Generation DNA Sequencing conference in London, January 18th-20th 2010. wwww.dnaevent.com