MEPS 301:9-22 (2005) - doi:10.3354/meps301009
Sand DNAa genetic library of life at the waters edge
Robert K. Naviaux1,*, Benjamin Good2,6, John D. McPherson3, David L. Steffen3, David Markusic1,7, Barbara Ransom4,8, Jacques Corbeil2,5
ABSTRACT: Powdered silica has long been used for the purification of nucleic acids in the laboratory. Silicate-rich, ordinary ocean beach sand was found to concentrate dissolved DNA from seawater over 10000-fold, providing a rich, renewable, and easily accessible genetic library that is easy to harvest and inexpensive to process. We found an average of 29 µg ml1 of cell-free DNA adsorbed to silicate-rich, wave-washed sand from 14 beaches bordering 9 seas around the world. The DNA from a reference beach was shotgun cloned, 3107399 nucleotides of anonymous, non-redundant sequence were analyzed, and 2571 genes were found; 2562 of these genes were new. The apparent complexity of sand DNA was greater than 1.4 × 1011 nucleotides. About 90% of the sequences identified were from prokaryotes, 10% from eukaryotes, and 1% were viral. Sequences from all kingdoms of life were present. Over half the sequences came from new phylotypes, reflecting the novelty of this genetic reservoir.
KEY WORDS: Sand · Genetic library · Dissolved DNA · Beach
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