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Last update: 04 Aug 2017

Workshop on Genomics & Bioinformatics [July 2017]
The 5th 'International Workshop on Prokaryotic Genomics & Bioinformatics' took place from 18-21 July 2017 (→ read more)
Joining ERA-IB consortium MetaCat [January 2017]
Since January 2017 our department belongs to the MetaCat consortium - a metagenomic collection of novel and highly efficient biocatalysts for industrial biotechnology (→ read more)
New OBAC cluster funded within ERA-IB [November 2016]
Partners form Frankfurt, Ulm, La Coruna, Gent and Göttingen will work together within the joint project 'OBAC - Overcoming energetic barriers in acetogenic conversion of carbon dioxide'. (→ read more)
FLEXIZUCKER - new BMEL funded project [October 2016]
Process engineering, enzymatic and genomic characterization of a flexible biogas production with targeted use of sugar beets (→ read more)
Annual Genomics Workshop [July 2016]
The 4th 'International Workshop on Prokaryotic Genomics & Bioinformatics' took place from 19-22 July 2016. (→ read more)

Biodiversity and Metagenomics

The major research interest is to explore and to exploit the enormous and largely untapped physiological, metabolic, and genetic diversity of environmental microorganisms by culture-independent metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. This comprises the development of methods for direct isolation of high-quality nucleic acids from various habitats such as water samples, soil, marine sediments, freshwater sediments, ice, and volcanic regions and the construction of small-insert and large-insert metagenomic libraries from isolated DNA.


To recover novel genes and gene products from environmental samples the libraries are screened by function-driven or sequence-based approaches. This work has led, i.e., to the successful identification and characterization of novel proteases, oxidoreductases, B12-dependent dehydratases, lipases, and DNA polymerases from metagenomes.
To gain insights into the genomes of the uncultivated microorganisms and to deduce the metabolic potential and to determine key functions of the microbial community present in the studied environments direct sequencing, annotation of metagenomic DNA and cDNA (generated from mRNA), and comparative genomics are carried out.


The sequencing data are also used to determine the phylogenetic origin of the sequenced DNA fragments. In addition, the phylogenetic distribution of the microorganisms in the environmental sample is analyzed by classical analysis of the 16S rRNA genes. In addition to metagenomes and metatranscriptomes, sequencing and analysis of genomes derived from individual microorganisms is also performed.
Contact: Dr. Bernd Wemheuer ().