Fungi are the organisms of choice as hosts for production of ethanol and other biofuels from plant material, and can serve as powerful model systems for environmental and ecological science. One of the challenges in analyzing fungal genomes is functional annotation as even in the best-studied model filamentous fungus, some 40 percent of genes have unknown functions. This project focuses on creating functional annotation libraries of Saccharomyces yeast species that could be used to identify genes involved in biofuels production. The researchers are focused on conducting random barcoded transposon mutagenesis and sequencing-based pooled fitness assays in fungi, and to use this data to annotate genes with respect to traits relevant for production of ethanol and other biofuels across six Saccharomyces species. The project’s end goal is to generate an experimental and computational pipeline for random barcoded transposon mutagenesis and pooled fitness assays in Saccharomycetes, which can be extended to other fungi of relevance to the DOE mission and which will enable rational engineering of fungal strains to meet DOE needs with respect to energy and the environment.
Proposer’s Name: Rachel Brem