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J Bacteriol. Jul 1991; 173(14): 4371–4378.
PMCID: PMC208098

Analysis of a marine picoplankton community by 16S rRNA gene cloning and sequencing.

Abstract

The phylogenetic diversity of an oligotrophic marine picoplankton community was examined by analyzing the sequences of cloned ribosomal genes. This strategy does not rely on cultivation of the resident microorganisms. Bulk genomic DNA was isolated from picoplankton collected in the north central Pacific Ocean by tangential flow filtration. The mixed-population DNA was fragmented, size fractionated, and cloned into bacteriophage lambda. Thirty-eight clones containing 16S rRNA genes were identified in a screen of 3.2 x 10(4) recombinant phage, and portions of the rRNA gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. The resulting sequences were used to establish the identities of the picoplankton by comparison with an established data base of rRNA sequences. Fifteen unique eubacterial sequences were obtained, including four from cyanobacteria and eleven from proteobacteria. A single eucaryote related to dinoflagellates was identified; no archaebacterial sequences were detected. The cyanobacterial sequences are all closely related to sequences from cultivated marine Synechococcus strains and with cyanobacterial sequences obtained from the Atlantic Ocean (Sargasso Sea). Several sequences were related to common marine isolates of the gamma subdivision of proteobacteria. In addition to sequences closely related to those of described bacteria, sequences were obtained from two phylogenetic groups of organisms that are not closely related to any known rRNA sequences from cultivated organisms. Both of these novel phylogenetic clusters are proteobacteria, one group within the alpha subdivision and the other distinct from known proteobacterial subdivisions. The rRNA sequences of the alpha-related group are nearly identical to those of some Sargasso Sea picoplankton, suggesting a global distribution of these organisms.

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Selected References

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