An ecological study on distribution of Antarctic bacterial communities was determined by 16S-based phylogenetic analyses of clone libraries derived from RNA and DNA extracted from two different marine areas and compared between each other. Superficial seawater samples were collected from four stations in Ross Sea, three of them located in Rod Bay and one in Evans Cove; for each station two clone libraries (16S rDNA and 16S rRNA) were prepared and evident divergences between DNA and RNA libraries of each site were obtained. Of all phylotypes 93.6% were found in RNA libraries; in contrast, only 31 phylotypes (70.5%) were retrieved from total microbial community (DNA libraries). DNA and RNA sequences related to γ-Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes groups, typical for Antarctic sea-ice bacterial communities, were detected in analysed sites. 16S rDNA and rRNA libraries derived from the two different areas were enriched by picophytoplanktonic 16S sequences of plastid and mitochondrion origins, reflecting that the algal blooms occurred during sampling (Antarctic summer 2003). The finding in Rod Bay libraries of high percentage of DNA clones apparently affiliated with β-Proteobacteria typical for activated sludges and well water could be explained by the presence of a sewage depuration system at this site. Obtained results clearly demonstrate that combination of 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA gene sequencing is preferred approach to have a more reliable vision on the composition of microbial communities.
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