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Global phylogeography of toxic cyanobacteria Moorea producens reveals distinct genetic partitioning influenced by Proterozoic glacial cycles

Curren, Emily, Leong, Sandric Chee Yew
Harmful algae 2019 v.86 pp. 10-19
Mesoarchean era, Mesoproterozoic era, Moorea producens, Oscillatoriaceae, geographical distribution, inflammation, nucleotide sequences, phylogeny, phylogeography, poisonous algae, population structure, refuge habitats, ribosomal RNA, secondary metabolites, toxicity
Lyngbya majuscula is a marine filamentous cyanobacteria belonging to the family Oscillatoriaceae. Recent phylogenetic analyses of L. majuscula have reclassified a subset of this species into various genera such as Moorea, Okeania and Dapis. From the genus Moorea, Moorea producens is a toxic invasive cyanobacterium that produces bioactive secondary metabolites that can cause severe inflammation and blistering. Despite the global distribution of M. producens, little information is available on their origin, patterns of dispersal and population structure. In this study, the spatial population structure of M. producens was investigated using near-complete 16S rRNA sequences. Analysis of the global population of M. producens by Isolation by Distance and STRUCTURE revealed two significantly distinct cosmopolitan populations that were separated by a genetic break. Lineage-specific divergence estimates of 147 cyanobacterial taxa, based on a relaxed molecular clock indicated the first global emergence of M. producens during the Mesoarchean and a subsequent global recolonization during the Mesoproterozoic period. We conclude that the genetic discontinuity between both cosmopolitan populations is attributed to refugia associated with Proterozoic glacial cycles.