For a long time, microbial genomes were considered to be relatively stable just being altered by a few nucleotides per year. With an increasing amount of completely assembled microbial genomes it turns out that this assumption only holds true for a few bacterial lineages. In fact, most bacteria display highly dynamic genomes in terms of extrachromosomal elements as phages, plasmids and translocatable units. Also, on chromosome level structural variations can be observed in form of prophages, transposons, chromosomal translocations as well as large scale inversions and deletions. The role of adapting their genomes in terms of genome structure as a response to environmental stresses is still poorly understood for prokaryotes.
The DFG-funded Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 51 (TRR 51) “Ecology, Physiology and Molecular Biology of the Roseobacter clade: Towards a Systems Biology Understanding of a Globally Important Clade of Marine Bacteria” has been established in January 2010 and is currently in its third funding period. DSMZ bioinformatics is involved in assembly and transcriptomics of the marine algae Prorocentrum minimum.
In close cooperation with external partners and the DZIF pathogen biobanking microbial genomes of emerging pathogens are investigated. Hereby, key aspects are phages as well as determination and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes.