[BBG02-07] Single Cell and Genomic Characterization of Cyanobacteria in Ancient Environment Analogues
In addition to characterizing phenotypic heterogeneity in these two cases, we also explore the genetic potential of those cyanobacteria inhabiting modern iron-rich hot springs, which may serve as analogues for ancient environments. We are interested in the distribution of strains belonging to the genus Thermosynechococcus across varying geochemical settings, the genomic core within the genus and the genomic adaptations that are specific to high-iron concentrations. The genomic core within Thermosynechococcus is large when compared to the genomic core across different genera of cyanobacteria. Our analysis also shows that strains from high iron environments show no specific genetic adaptation to actively process iron. These results reinforce previous work that demonstrated that Thermosynechococcus are a cosmopolitan group of organisms, which are versatile in the environments which they can inhabit.
Through the characterization of the mechanisms that may have allowed cyanobacteria survival on early Earth, we are hoping to further deepen the understanding of their evolutionary context and the environmental changes they induced.