Development of a forward genetic screen platform for diatoms based on mitotic recombination

01 November 2021 → 30 September 2024
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Other organic elements and compounds
    • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
    • Microbiology not elsewhere classified
    • Genetics
  • Engineering and technology
    • Algae biotechnology
diatoms forward genetic screen biobased economy
Project description

Diatoms are a species-rich group of microalgae with diverse metabolic capabilities and an immense potential for biotechnological application, including the production of biofuels, nutritional compounds and various heterologous molecules. However, the function of a large portion of diatom genes remains unknown. Unraveling the functions of these genes could unlock many novel diatom applications. Recently, we have discovered high mitotic recombination rates between homologous chromosomes in diatoms, resulting in loss-of-heterozygosity. In this project, we aim to use this remarkable phenomenon to develop a forward genetic screen platform, including the establishment and optimization of the best screening conditions, as well as the setup of a bioinformatics pipeline to identify causative mutations. As a proof of concept, we will use the developed platform to identify genes involved in carotenoid biosynthesis.