The open ocean is teeming with microbial small RNAs that regulate a multitude of environmental processes ranging from carbon metabolism to nutrient acquisition, according to a linkurl:paper; published in tomorrow's (May 14) issue of __Nature__.
Particle traps like these were used
to collect water column samples

Image: SOEST/University of Hawaii
"What makes this study quite exciting is the access to novel and previously unidentified small RNAs," linkurl:Jack Gilbert,; a molecular ecologist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory who was not involved in the study, told __The Scientist__. "Now we can look at the transcripts and regulation of whole suites of pathways in a whole community." In 2007, researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute sailed around the world aboard the __Sorcerer II__ yacht and used metagenomic shotgun sequencing approaches to identify linkurl:millions of previously unknown protein-coding genes.; Then last year, Gilbert and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's linkurl:Edward DeLong; each independently...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?