Scientists have come up with a way to determine whether marine microbes are specialized to grow in nutrient-rich or -poor environments based on their genomic content, according to a feature article scheduled to appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
An international research team sequenced and compared the genomes of two marine microbes, Photobacterium angustum S14 and Sphingopyxis alaskensis RB2256. Based on this comparison, they came up with a model for determining a microbe’s trophic lifestyle based on its genetic profile. When they applied their approach to nearly 125 more marine microbes, the researchers found evidence suggesting more marine microbes are suited to nutrient-poor than nutrient-rich conditions.
“What we’ve learned here is that a few genes can tell us much about the nature of the environment that species come from and what influences them to evolve in a specific way,” senior author Rick Cavicchioli, a molecular biologist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, said in a statement.
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