An 'annotation jamboree', a unique event in the field of bioinformatics in Israel, is taking place at the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine this week.
Leading scientists from Britain, Israel, the United States, Russia and Germany will take part in the event.
Two internationally recognized experts, Nikos C. Kyrpides, head of Genome Biology Program, DOE Joint Gewnome Institute, and Victor M. Markowitz, head of the Department of Bioloigical Data Management and Technology Center, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, have come to Israel to lead the annotation workshop.
They will lead the workshop using the Integrated Microbial Genome (IMG) system for annotating the newly sequenced genome of Micrococcus luteus. Although the emphasis will be on this organism, this technique and the software suite can be applied to any microbial genome.
Micococcus luteus is of historical importance, since it was from this organism that Alexander Fleming discovered and studied lysozyme. However, more importantly, it lies at the point of expansion of the Actinobacteria, an ancient phylum including among others, the Mycobacterium, the Streptomyces and Corynebacteria.
Prof. Charles Greenblatt of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine explains that although they were able to get the full sequence of a very important bug, they must in a joint effort now assign to the sequence (2,500,000 letters of the genetic code) all the genes n the bacterium (about 2,500).
''By seeing the relationships between genes, we can begin to understand how the organism becomes virulent, develops antibiotic resistance, goes dormant and how it survives.''
The jamboree is being sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Science, the British Council and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.