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Science. 2005 Sep 30;309(5744):2179.

Extracellular DNA plays a key role in deep-sea ecosystem functioning.

Author information

1
Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.

Abstract

The ecological role and biogeochemical relevance of extracellular DNA in the oceanic sediments are unknown. Our global estimates indicate that up to 0.45 gigatons of extracellular DNA are present in the top 10 centimeters of deep-sea sediments, representing the largest reservoir of DNA in the world oceans. We demonstrate that extracellular DNA accounts for about one fifth of the total organic phosphorus regeneration and provides almost half of the prokaryotic demand for organic phosphorus. It therefore plays a key role in deep-sea ecosystem functioning on a global scale.

PMID:
16195451
DOI:
10.1126/science.1117475
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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