Kenyak-yeye: UK-Australian Global Soil Meta-omic Programme

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Kenyak-yeye: UK-Australian Global Soil Meta-omic Programme

In this era of high-throughput sequencing of environmental DNA/mRNA and powerful new tools for bioinformatic analysis (encompassing both metabolic potential (DNA) and gene transcription (mRNA), collectively referred to as meta-omics), the challenge for soil microbial ecology is to generate meaningful data and interpretation which contributes to a more fundamental understanding of how soil systems function, change and adapt to disturbance (both climatic and management-based): in the process developing important knowledge regarding soil protection and food security. To achieve this, new models of soil systems which incorporate microbial activity as explicit parameters will be required. Generalised frameworks for environmentally realistic models treating soils as biologically active systems, sensitive to changing environmental conditions or land-use, must combine estimates of community process rates (respiration, nitrogen (N)-cycling, lignocellulose degradation, phosphorus (P)-cycling) with measures of community structure (abundance/ diversity of functional genes). Meta-omic techniques permit simultaneous measurement of abundance and diversity of genes, and of the wider community structure across a range of different soil types or land-uses. Through its funding of soil and food security research at Rothamsted, BBSRC continues to make significant investment in generating extensive agricultural soil metagenome datasets from young, fertile soils. With this award, our aim is to generate added value from this important data by joining efforts with Australian partners who have generated metagenome datasets from natural and agricultural soils from around the continent which are characteristically highly weathered and carbon and nutrient poor. Questions: 1- is there a core global soil microbiome? 2- are there principal gene ecotypes associated with N and P cycling in soils? 3- are there principal gene ecotypes associated with N and P cycling in soils?

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