Metagenomic survey of the microbiome of ancient Siberian permafrost and modern Kamchatkan cryosols

jean-michel.claverie [ at ]


In the context of global warming, the melting of arctic permafrost raises the threat of a re-emergence of microorganisms some of which were shown to remain viable in ancient frozen soils for up to half a million years. In order to evaluate this risk, it is of interest to acquire a better knowledge of the composition of the microbial communities found in this understudied environment. Here we present a metagenomics analysis of 12 soil samples from Russian Arctic and subarctic pristine areas: Chukotka, Yakutia, and Kamchatka, including 9 permafrost samples collected at various depths. These large datasets (9.2 1011 total bp) were assembled (525,313 contigs > 5kb), their encoded protein contents predicted, then used to perform taxonomical assignments of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic organisms, as well as DNA viruses. The various samples exhibited variable DNA contents and highly diverse taxonomic profiles showing no obvious relationship with their locations, depths or deposit ages. Bacteria represented the largely dominant DNA fraction (95%) in all samples, followed by archaea (3.2%), surprisingly little eukaryotes (0.5%), and viruses (0.4%). Although no common taxonomic pattern was identified, the samples shared unexpected high frequencies of β-lactamase genes, almost 0.9 copy/bacterial genome. In addition of known environmental threats, the particularly intense warming of the Arctic might thus enhance the spread of bacterial antibiotic resistances, today's major challenge in public health. β-lactamases were also observed at high frequency in other types of soils, suggesting their general role in the regulation of bacterial populations.

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DOI 10.1093/femsml/uqac003

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Rigou, S. , Christo-Foroux, E. , Santini, S. , Goncharov, A. , Strauss, J. , Grosse, G. , Fedorov, A. N. , Labadie, K. , Abergel, C. and Claverie, J. M. (2022): Metagenomic survey of the microbiome of ancient Siberian permafrost and modern Kamchatkan cryosols , microLife, 3 (1), pp. 1-15 . doi: 10.1093/femsml/uqac003

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Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2015_CentralYakutia_Yukechi

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