The Deep Biosphere as Seen Through Massively Parallel Sequencing
When: April 12, 2010 1PM PDT
Deeply buried marine sediments may house a large amount of the Earth’s microbial population. Initial studies based on 16S rRNA clone libraries suggest that these sediments contain unique phylotypes of microorganisms, particularly from the archaeal domain. Since this environment is so difficult to study, microbiologists are challenged to find ways to examine these populations remotely. A major approach taken to study this environment uses massively parallel sequencing to examine the inner genetic workings of these microorganisms after the sediment has been drilled. Both metagenomics and tagged amplicon sequencing have been employed on deep sediments, and initial results show that different geographic regions can be differentiated through genomics and also minor populations may cause major geochemical changes.