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Researchers Reconstruct Microbial Genomes from Environment

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 (GenomeWeb News) - The University of California, Berkeley said yesterday that university researchers, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, have simultaneously sequenced several genomes from an entire community of microbes.


According to the researchers, they were able to reconstruct near-complete genomes of Leptospirillum group II and Ferroplasma type II from a natural acidophilic biofilm using random shotgun DNA sequencing. They added that they were also able to partially recover three other genomes.


Their work was detailed this week in the advance online publication of the journal Nature.


The researchers stated in the abstract of the Nature article that the biofilm - which was obtained from the floor of an abandoned mine in California - "was dominated by a small number of species populations, and the frequency of genomic rearrangements and gene insertions or deletions was relatively low."


They added that "because each sequence read came from a different individual, we could determine that single-nucleotide polymorphisms are the predominant form of heterogeneity at the strain level." Additionally, "analysis of the gene complement for eacch organism revealed the pathways for carbon and nitrogen fixation and energy generation, and provided insights into survival strategies in an extreme environment."

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