The aim is to determine the pangenomes of 100-200 species of soil or plant-associated prokaryotes. While the genome sequence of the type strain captures much of the genotype of a species, the sequence of any single strain also neglects a large part of the genetic diversity. A more complete description of the species is given by the pangenome, which comprises, in principle, the collection of all the genes in all strains of the species. The pangenome of a species comprises the core genome, containing genes shared among all strains, and a dispensable genome, containing genes present in only some strains. The core genome is of special importance in the description of a species because it encodes those properties that are conserved across all members. Thus, it captures the phenotypic basis for the species, including those factors which are responsible for speciation and adaptation to its environment. The dispensable genome is also interesting and provides insight into strain specific differences. Lastly, the pangenome provides important insights into the frequency of horizontal gene transfer and sources of genetic diversity within a species. Understanding these attributes of soil and plant-associate prokaryotes will provide valuable insights into the functional properties of these organisms.
Proposer: William Whitman, University of Georgia