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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Hypersaline Lake Urmia: a potential hotspot for microbial genomic variation

Kheiri, Roohollah; Mehrshad, Maliheh; Pourbabaee, Ahmad Ali; Ventosa, Antonio; Amoozegar, Mohammad Ali


Lake Urmia located in Iran is a hypersaline environment with a salinity of about 27% (w/v). Metagenomic analyses of water samples collected from six locations in the lake exhibited a microbial community dominated by representatives of the family Haloferacaceae (69.8%), mainly those affiliated to only two genera, Haloquadratum (59.3%) and Halonotius (9.1%). Similar to other hypersaline lakes, the bacterial community was dominated by Salinibacter ruber (23.3%). Genomic variation analysis by inspecting single nucleotide variations (SNVs) and insertions/deletions (INDELs) exhibited a high level of SNVs and insertions, most likely through transformation for abundant taxa in the Lake Urmia community. We suggest that the extreme conditions of Lake Urmia and specifically its high ionic concentrations could potentially increase the SNVs and insertions, which can consequently hamper the assembly and genome reconstruction from metagenomic reads of Lake Urmia.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2023, Volume: 13, number: 1, article number: 374