COMPLETED Understanding Prokaryotic Genome Evolution and Diversity

Dr. Ford Doolittle, the 2014 recipient of the prestigious NSERC Herzberg Award was the Project Leader for this initiative. The Dalhousie University professor worked with his team to examine the molecular evolution of bacteria (prokaryotes) in an attempt to better understand ‘evolution’ at its most fundamental level.

This project was renowned for its work in reconstructing gene and gene history from DNA sequences. The team contributed some highly impactful data regarding recombination and lateral gene transfer in the wild, and developed several methods for the study of genomes recovered from environmental samples. This body of work has several potential applications, with one example being the development of biomarkers for the bioremediation sector.

This project involved collaborations with The Institute for Genomic Research, the University of Connecticut and Universidad Miguel Hernandez in Spain. The project enabled 120 person years of employment, 74 published papers, 5 book chapters, 48 abstracts and led to 116 invited presentations.

The project was part of Genome Canada’s Competition I, and had a budget of $4.2 million. Funders for Understanding Prokaryotic Genome Evolution and Diversity included Genome Canada, Dalhousie University, the Province of Nova Scotia/Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency/Atlantic Innovation Fund.