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Microbes Environ. 2012;27(4):382-90. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Microbial diversity in deep-sea methane seep sediments presented by SSU rRNA gene tag sequencing.

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Subsurface Geobiology & Advanced Research Project, Extremobiosphere Research Program, Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology, 2–15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka 237–0061, Japan.


Microbial community structures in methane seep sediments in the Nankai Trough were analyzed by tag-sequencing analysis for the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene using a newly developed primer set. The dominant members of Archaea were Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vent Euryarchaeotic Group 6 (DHVEG 6), Marine Group I (MGI) and Deep Sea Archaeal Group (DSAG), and those in Bacteria were Alpha-, Gamma-, Delta- and Epsilonproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes and Acidobacteria. Diversity and richness were examined by 8,709 and 7,690 tag-sequences from sediments at 5 and 25 cm below the seafloor (cmbsf), respectively. The estimated diversity and richness in the methane seep sediment are as high as those in soil and deep-sea hydrothermal environments, although the tag-sequences obtained in this study were not sufficient to show whole microbial diversity in this analysis. We also compared the diversity and richness of each taxon/division between the sediments from the two depths, and found that the diversity and richness of some taxa/divisions varied significantly along with the depth.

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