|Title||Single-cell genomics reveals hundreds of coexisting subpopulations in wild Prochlorococcus.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Kashtan, N, Roggensack, SE, Rodrigue, S, Thompson, JW, Biller, SJ, Coe, A, Ding, H, Marttinen, P, Malmstrom, RR, Stocker, R, Follows, MJ, Stepanauskas, R, Chisholm, SW|
|Date Published||2014 Apr 25|
|Keywords||Atlantic Ocean, Biological Evolution, Ecosystem, Genes, Bacterial, Genetic Variation, Genome, Bacterial, Metagenomics, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Phylogeny, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prochlorococcus, Seasons, Seawater, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Single-Cell Analysis|
Extensive genomic diversity within coexisting members of a microbial species has been revealed through selected cultured isolates and metagenomic assemblies. Yet, the cell-by-cell genomic composition of wild uncultured populations of co-occurring cells is largely unknown. In this work, we applied large-scale single-cell genomics to study populations of the globally abundant marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. We show that they are composed of hundreds of subpopulations with distinct "genomic backbones," each backbone consisting of a different set of core gene alleles linked to a small distinctive set of flexible genes. These subpopulations are estimated to have diverged at least a few million years ago, suggesting ancient, stable niche partitioning. Such a large set of coexisting subpopulations may be a general feature of free-living bacterial species with huge populations in highly mixed habitats.