Sampling just a few genes can reveal not only the “lifestyle” of marine microbes but of their entire environments, new research suggests.
The finding means researchers may be able to predict the types of microbes that thrive in specific marine environments by sampling the genomes of just a few dominant species, according to research co-author Rick Cavicchioli of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). As well, it may reveal new insights into the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the world’s oceans. The findings are published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“It’s a bit like using the DNA from a single hair at a crime scene to discover the identity of the perpetrator,” says Professor Cavicchioli. “What we’ve learned here is that a few genes can tell us a much about the nature of the environment that species come from and what influences them to evolve in a specific way.”
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