Characterization of Hymenobacter isolates from Victoria Upper Glacier, Antarctica reveals five new species and substantial non-vertical evolution within this genus
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We isolated several Hymenobacter-like strains from Victoria Upper Glacier, Antarctica, basal ice that diverged substantially from currently defined Hymenobacter species according to their 16S rRNA and gyrB gene phylogenies. All strains were psychrotolerant, heterotrophic aerobes which grew preferentially on low salt and low nutrient strength agar. Further phenotypic and chemotaxonomic characterization of these isolates supported their assignment as five novel species: H. algoricola sp. nov., H. antarcticus sp. nov., H. elongatus sp. nov., H. fastidiosus sp. nov., and H. glaciei sp. nov. Remarkable among these data was the prevalence of horizontal gene transfers and phenotypic variation, even between apparently closely related strains. These results suggest extensive non-vertical evolution within the genus Hymenobacter, and may reflect evolutionary trajectories resulting from dormancy, e.g., during interment in glacial ice.
KeywordsSystematics Taxonomy Psychrophiles Psychrophile ecology Psychrophile physiology
This work was supported by an NSERC postgraduate fellowship to J. L. K. and an NSERC Discovery Grant to J. M. F. DNA sequencing was conducted by the University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences Molecular Biology Service Unit. We thank Dr. J. Euzéby (École Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse), Rozlyn Young (University of Alberta) and Yuumi Currah (University of Alberta) for assistance with species names, and Dr. J. Barker (University of Alberta) for provision of the VUG samples.
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