Microsporidian Diversity in Soil, Sand, and Compost of the Pacific Northwest

Authors

  • Alex M. Ardila-Garcia,

    1. Biodiversity Research Center and Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Nandini Raghuram,

    1. Biodiversity Research Center and Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Panela Sihota,

    1. Biodiversity Research Center and Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Naomi M. Fast

    Corresponding author
    1. Biodiversity Research Center and Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Correspondence N. M. Fast, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, #3529-6270 University Blvd., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4 Telephone number: +1 604-822-1630; FAX number: +1 604-822-6089; e-mail: nfast@mail.ubc.ca

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Abstract

Microsporidia are intracellular parasites considered to be ubiquitous in the environment. Yet the true extent of their diversity in soils, sand, and compost remains unclear. We examined microsporidian diversity found in the common urban environments of soil, sand, and compost. We retrieved 22 novel microsporidian sequences and only four from described species. Their distribution was generally restricted to a single site and sample type. Surprisingly, one novel microsporidian showed a wide distribution, and high prevalence, as it was detected in five different compost samples and in soil samples collected over 200 km apart. These results suggest that the majority of Microsporidia appear to have a narrow distribution. Our phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Microsporidia detected in this study include representatives from four of the five major microsporidian groups. Furthermore, the addition of our new sequences calls into question the cohesiveness of microsporidian clade II. These results highlight the importance of increasing our knowledge of microsporidian diversity to better understand the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of this important group of emerging parasites.

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