J. Craig Venter Institute-led team awarded $10.7M by DOE to boost lipid production in diatoms for next-gen biofuels and bioproducts

By mmillikin Scientists led by the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit genomic research organization, were recently awarded a 5-year, $10.7-million grant by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (BER), BER Genomic Science Program to optimize metabolic networks in model photosynthetic microalgae, called diatoms. The aim of this work is to substantially increase oil (lipid) production, enabling next-generation biofuels and bioproducts.

Building on prior synthetic biology and diatom research, methodologies will be developed and optimized for introducing and transplanting new biological functions into diatoms—a globally abundant class of algae. Initial modeling exercises will guide targeted

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