Por Mauro Rebelo

Environmental DNA proof of concept with samples from the HABITATS Project

Post Projeto DNA Ambiental prova de conceitos

In 2013, a technical and scientific cooperation agreement with CENPES-Petrobras enabled Bio Bureau Biotecnologia to analyze 15 sediment samples from the Habitat project to identify biodiversity in the Campos Basin (100,000 km2). Spare sediment samples were used, stored under refrigeration at -20 oC between 2009 and 2013.

The extraction of the DNAs contained in the sediment samples enabled the processing of more than 10 million DNA fragments, generating more than 2 billion base pairs for the identification of organisms. The DNAs sequenced using proton ion technology were then able to go through the bioinformatics processing phase.

The method for analyzing biodiversity using metagenomics developed by Bio Bureau obtained exceptional results, allowing the identification of 13 phyla and 33 classes. The phylogenetic trees were assembled from the analysis of more than 1 million DNA sequences and integrate the biodiversity information assessed on the basis of genetic markers for 3 replicates of a collection station. For the Polychaeta class alone, 16 families, 27 genera and 25 species were identified.

Our proof of concept showed that it was possible to reduce the sample analysis time for a project of Habitat’s magnitude from 60 months with traditional taxonomy to 3 months with metagenomics, with a gain of more than 10 times in the number of species or operational taxonomic units identified.

The results are published as a pre-print in the journal PeerJ: Schettini MMDP, Cardenas RGCCL, Detoni MAA, Rebelo MF. 2016. Meta-Barcoding accelerates species discovery and unravels great biodiversity of benthic invertebrates in marine sediments in Campos basin, Brazil. PeerJ Preprints 4:e2103v3 https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2103v3