Subsurface Microbes

Generating archeal diversity

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Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 409
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6233.409-g

Retroelements—gene sequences that are introduced into DNA through an RNA intermediate—in subsurface archaea help increase gene and protein diversity. Paul et al. identified an archeal virus from a methane seep in a California borderlands basin that contains a complete and active diversity-generating retroelement (DGR). Furthermore, published metagenomes of two uncultivated nanoarchaea from the marine subsurface contain at least four DGRs, more than any other bacteria or virus known to date. Because anaerobic archaea in the subsurface grow so slowly, and thus have low background genome mutations, DGRs may be a widespread source of genetic diversity in these environments.

Nat. Comm. 10.1038/ncomms7585 (2015).

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