2023 9 B1

BIOL446: Investigating the Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Divergence in Aquificales

By: Carlos Hernandez

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. José R. De La Torre

This study investigates the genetic factors contributing to the evolutionary divergence in Aquificales, a group of bacteria that inhabit extreme environments such as terrestrial hot springs and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Previous phylogenetic analysis of this group was based on 16s ribosomal sequencing, which has shown that Aquificales may be one of the earliest divergent phyla of bacteria. For a more accurate classification of the phyla, a comparative genomics approach was employed in this study, utilizing nucleotide sequences from the Joint Genome Institute and NCBI GenBank, we analyzed the protein-coding sequences with GTDBTK software. In particular, a large set of protein-coding genes was analyzed in the genomes of permanent draft sequenced Aquificales species. These sequences were over 90% complete with less than 5% contamination, ensuring a high-quality dataset. Using IQ-TREE to organize the final data, the genomes were compared to identify genetic differences contributing to the evolutionary divergence of Aquificales. The results of this study provide a more comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary history of this group of bacteria and highlight the importance of using comparative genomics approaches in evolutionary studies. This research provides valuable insights into the genetic mechanisms underlying the ability of Aquificales to thrive in extreme environments.