Heading Toward the Light

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Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 804
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6044.804-c

Bioengineering of eukaryotic algae might soon be a means to provide biofuel sources that may supplement petroleum products. One potential biofuel source is the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The full genome of C. reinhardtii is available, but a systems-level understanding of its growth and development, including its response to light, warrants further investigation. Chang et al. present a genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction of C. reinhardtii that includes a genome-wide functional annotation of metabolic genes, an experimental verification of transcripts across the genome, and a quantitative accounting of its response to multiple light conditions and photosynthesis in metabolism. This work details light usage under different conditions and could be used to design and evaluate the production of target biological products as a function of light-source efficiencies. The additional understanding of the light response by C. reinhardtii could affect biofuel and other metabolic engineering applications in addition to adding to fundamental quantitative insights into how photosynthesis drives cellular metabolism.

Mol. Syst. Biol. 7, 518 (2011).

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