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The genetics of geochemistry

Croal, Laura R. and Gralnick, Jeffrey A. and Malasarn, Davin and Newman, Dianne K. (2004) The genetics of geochemistry. Annual Review of Genetics, 38 . pp. 175-202. ISSN 0066-4197. doi:10.1146/annurev.genet.38.072902.091138.

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Bacteria are remarkable in their metabolic diversity due to their ability to harvest energy from myriad oxidation and reduction reactions. In some cases, their metabolisms involve redox transformations of metal(loid)s, which lead to the precipitation, transformation, or dissolution of minerals. Microorganism/mineral interactions not only affect the geochemistry of modern environments, but may also have contributed to shaping the near-surface environment of the early Earth. For example, bacterial anaerobic respiration of ferric iron or the toxic metalloid arsenic is well known to affect water quality in many parts of the world today, whereas the utilization of ferrous iron as an electron donor in anoxygenic photosynthesis may help explain the origin of Banded Iron Formations, a class of ancient sedimentary deposits. Bacterial genetics holds the key to understanding how these metabolisms work. Once the genes and gene products that catalyze geochemically relevant reactions are understood, as well as the conditions that trigger their expression, we may begin to predict when and to what extent these metabolisms influence modern geochemical cycles, as well as develop a basis for deciphering their origins and how organisms that utilized them may have altered the chemical and physical features of our planet.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gralnick, Jeffrey A.0000-0001-9250-7770
Newman, Dianne K.0000-0003-1647-1918
Additional Information:© 2004 by Annual Reviews. First published online as a Review in Advance on June 11, 2004. We thank D. Lies, A. Kappler, and C. Saltikov for constructive comments that improved the manuscript. The authors were supported in part by a NSF graduate fellowship (L.R.C.), a Texaco Postdoctoral Fellowship (J.A.G.), a NIH training grant (D.M.), and grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, Packard Foundation, and the ONR to D.K.N.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Texaco Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Henry Luce FoundationUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:biogeochemistry, arsenic, iron, respiration, photosynthesis
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CROarg04
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Official Citation:The Genetics of Geochemistry. Laura R. Croal, Jeffrey A. Gralnick, Davin Malasarn, Dianne K. Newman. Annual Review of Genetics 2004 38:1, 175-202; doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.38.072902.091138
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:286
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:17 May 2005
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 19:01

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