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Title: Conserved bacterial genomes from two geographically isolated peritidal stromatolite formations shed light on potential functional guilds

Stromatolites are complex microbial mats that form lithified layers. Fossilized stromatolites are the oldest evidence of cellular life on Earth, dating back over 3.4 billion years. Modern stromatolites are relatively rare but may provide clues about the function and evolution of their ancient counterparts. In this study, we focus on peritidal stromatolites occurring at Cape Recife and Schoenmakerskop on the southeastern South African coastline, the former being morphologically and structurally similar to fossilized phosphatic stromatolites formations. Using assembled shotgun metagenomic analysis, we obtained 183 genomic bins, of which the most dominant taxa were from the Cyanobacteria phylum. We identified functional gene sets in genomic bins conserved across two geographically isolated stromatolite formations, which included relatively high copy numbers of genes involved in the reduction of nitrates and phosphatic compounds. Additionally, we found little evidence of Archaeal species in these stromatolites, suggesting that they may not play an important role in peritidal stromatolite formations, as proposed for hypersaline formations.

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Journal Name:
Environmental Microbiology Reports
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 126-137
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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