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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Metagenomes in the borderline ecosystems of the Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities

  • Author(s): Coleine, Claudia
  • Albanese, Davide
  • Onofri, Silvano
  • Tringe, Susannah
  • Pennacchio, Christa
  • Donati, Claudio
  • Stajich, Jason
  • Selbmann, Laura
  • et al.

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Abstract Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities are microbial ecosystems dwelling inside rocks of ice-free areas in Continental Antarctica. In Antarctica, these ecosystems were first described from the McMurdo Dry Valleys, accounted as the best analogous of the Martian environment on Earth and thought to be devoid of life until the discovery of these cryptic life-forms. Our results present the first shotgun metagenomes of Antarctic cryptoendolithic lichen-dominated communities from 18 differently sun-exposed rock samples collected during the XXXI Italian Antarctic Expedition (2015-16), along an altitudinal transect from 834 up to 3100 m a.s.l. Here, we provide the raw data obtained with Illumina Novaseq sequencer, followed by initial functional and taxonomic analysis. Our results extend understanding of the microbial diversity and biological processes in the Antarctic desert and represent an invaluable resource for the scientific community as a base-line for further studies of this kind to examine the mechanisms and pathways necessary for life to adapt and evolve in the extremes.

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