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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: MN Mississippi Metagenome Project

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Id like to tell you a little bit about this project that we recently started

called the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project,

and what our project is about is to examine the

Mississippi River for the diversity and types of

microorganisms that are present in the river.

So the question really is why is microbial diversity important?

And microorganisms really are the driving force

or the engine that runs our planet. They are involved in

the recycling of materials like carbon and nutrients

and also the global cycling of elements on the planet.

And we decided to start our project at the headwaters

of the Mississippi, which is at Lake Itasca, and utilize

all of the facilities that Lake Itasca has to help get

this project going. And the idea then was to obtain

samples along the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca

down to the Twin Cities campus and examine the impact

that human population has on the types of microorganisms

that are present in the Mississippi River. What really makes

this an important project is that were at the headwaters

of the Mississippi where we think that the water

is relatively pure and the microorganisms present

are in their natural state. And Itascas field station

is going to play a prominent role in this project,

not only providing us access directly to those water samples,

but also providing the facilities for students and their instructors

to interact together to decipher this important information.

Now I didnt tell you what a metagenome is and

I think thats important to understand. So the metagenome

represents the sum total of all the genetic information

thats present in a given environmental sample. The sample

could be as small as a raindrop on a leaf or as large as

50 gallons of water from a lake. It really doesnt matter exactly

what the sample size is, it just changes the type of

question you can ask. Metagenomics is a relatively new science

and it really came as an offshoot of the development of

high throughput or rapid DNA sequencing technology.

Its heyday is now. It started about four to five years ago,

but its really taking off now with really important projects,

such as the human metagenome projects that are carried out

around the United States right now. There are metagenome

analyses of soils, water, intestinal tracts of organisms,

the guts of insects. There is a large amount of information

that we can gain using these high throughput technologies.

The Description of MN Mississippi Metagenome Project