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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty & Staff Directory

Bert Ely

Director, Center for Science Education
Department of Biology
University of South Carolina

Office: CLS 701
Phone Number: 803-777-2768
Website: Ely lab web page

Bacterial Genome Evolution

We are studying the genomes of the caulobacters and the bacteriophage that attack them to understand the roles of genome rearrangements, mutations, and horizontal gene transfer in genome evolution. Caulobacters have an interesting life cycle as shown above. We have shown that extensive genome rearrangements have occurred among the Caulobacter species studied to date. However, similar rearrangements have not occurred among the phages that infect these bacteria. This project involves the isolation of bacteria and bacteriophage from the wild, characterization of the isolates, genome sequencing, and bioinformatics. We are also interested in comparing the genomes of isolates from aquatic environments to those isolated from soil to determine if there are differences in the composition of the genome that are characteristic of the habitat where they live.


Ely B., W. Gibbs, S. Diez, and K. Ash. 2015. The Caulobacter crescentus transducing phage Cr30 is a unique member of the T4-like family of myophages. Current Microbiology, DOI :10.1007/s00284-015-0799-5.

Patel, S., B. Fletcher, D. C. Scott, and B. Ely. 2015. Genome sequence and phenotypic characterization of Caulobacter segnis. Current Microbiology 70: 355-363. DOI: 10.1007/s00284-014-0726-1.

Ash, K., T. Brown, T. Watford, L. E. Scott, C. Stephens, and B. Ely. 2014. A comparison of the Caulobacter NA1000 and K31 genomes reveals extensive genome rearrangements and differences in metabolic potential. Open Biology 4:140128 Doi: 10.1098/rsob.140128.

Scott, D., and B. Ely. 2015. Comparison of genome sequencing technology and assembly methods for the analysis of a GC-rich bacterial genome. Current Microbiology 70:338-344. DOI: 10.1007/s00284-014-0721-6.

 Ely, B. and L. E. Scott. 2014. Correction of the Caulobacter crescentus NA1000 genome annotation. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91668. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091668