Presentation Title

Metagenomic and Chemical Analysis of Microbiota in Takhini Hot Springs Near Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

The discovery of thermostable enzyme Taq Polymerase in the 1970’s in a Yellowstone National Park hot spring revolutionized the science industry. With applications in PCR it has become an invaluable tool in molecular biology, medical testing and forensics. The information available to scientists about hot springs is still limited, but researchers around the globe are performing studies which aim to better describe the microbiota found in what were once thought to be uninhabitable conditions.

The goal of this study is to perform a metagenomic analysis of a water sample obtained from Takhini hot springs, located just outside of Whitehorse, YT, Canada, and support the findings with various chemical analyses. It is hoped to gain a well-rounded picture of the microbiota which call this hot spring home and why. This is one of a number of small, similar projects with an ultimate goal of resampling these areas in the future and analyzing any changes in biodiversity. Furthermore, the discovery and identification of novel bacterium and enzymes, which may prove useful in industry, is always sought.

Analysis will begin by isolating and purifying the community genome, then amplifying and sequencing highly conserved 16S rRNA. These reads will then be aligned against databases in order to identify and classify microbiota taxonomically and determine their evolutionary proximity. By supporting these statistical tests with wet lab experiments analyzing the chemical composition of the hot springs a holistic interpretation of the sequence reads can be performed.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Nathan Bialas

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Metagenomic and Chemical Analysis of Microbiota in Takhini Hot Springs Near Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

The discovery of thermostable enzyme Taq Polymerase in the 1970’s in a Yellowstone National Park hot spring revolutionized the science industry. With applications in PCR it has become an invaluable tool in molecular biology, medical testing and forensics. The information available to scientists about hot springs is still limited, but researchers around the globe are performing studies which aim to better describe the microbiota found in what were once thought to be uninhabitable conditions.

The goal of this study is to perform a metagenomic analysis of a water sample obtained from Takhini hot springs, located just outside of Whitehorse, YT, Canada, and support the findings with various chemical analyses. It is hoped to gain a well-rounded picture of the microbiota which call this hot spring home and why. This is one of a number of small, similar projects with an ultimate goal of resampling these areas in the future and analyzing any changes in biodiversity. Furthermore, the discovery and identification of novel bacterium and enzymes, which may prove useful in industry, is always sought.

Analysis will begin by isolating and purifying the community genome, then amplifying and sequencing highly conserved 16S rRNA. These reads will then be aligned against databases in order to identify and classify microbiota taxonomically and determine their evolutionary proximity. By supporting these statistical tests with wet lab experiments analyzing the chemical composition of the hot springs a holistic interpretation of the sequence reads can be performed.