Sequencing the lacustrine microbial genome

The Molecular Microbial Ecology group of Girona University has collaborated with the Craig Venter Institute (CVI, USA and the Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes in the CVI environmental genomics project “Global Ocean Sampling Expedition” performing a metagenomic study of microbial diversity in a number of aquatic ecosystems in the Banyoles lacustrine system by using massive sequencing.

 Over the last three years, the CVI has been carrying out several oceanographic expeditions in various seas and oceans of the planet in order to sequence the “marine genome”. These genomic data allow researchers to have a better understanding of microbial diversity of the marine biome and, at the same time, to discover new genes and proteins that can be potentially useful in biotechnology. The interest of CVI researchers for the karst lakes located in Banyoles is due to the great contrast between these environments and marine systems.  Biodiversity in karst lakes has very little to do with that of oceans, and, as a result, the samples collected in Banyoles constitute a very interesting material for research, not only to compare microbial communities in each type of ecosystem, but also to discover new forms of life. During the sampling campaign in Banyoles 100 litres of water in total were collected from three lakes (Cisó, Vilar and the Banyoles lake itself). Considering that each ml of water contains a million microorganisms on average, the total amount collected must be about 100 000 000 000 cells (1×1011). The material, duly frozen, was sent to the CVI headquarters in Rockville (MA) so as to proceed with DNA extraction and subsequent metagenomic analysis by using massive sequencing techniques. The results generated by this study will help researchers know in detail the genetic biodiversity existing in lacustrine microbial communities and also to identify microorganisms that have the greatest impact on the biogeochemical processes taking place in these environments.

 Responsible researcher: Carles Borrego (gEMM-IEA, UdG)

 GOS Blog:

Banyoles sampling:

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