Non-random genetic alterations in the cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. exposed to space conditions

Yuguang Liu, Patricio Jeraldo, William Herbert, Samantha McDonough, Bruce Eckloff, Jean Pierre de Vera, Charles Cockell, Thomas Leya, Mickael Baqué, Jin Jen, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Marina Walther-Antonio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the impact of long-term exposure of microorganisms to space is critical in understanding how these exposures impact the evolution and adaptation of microbial life under space conditions. In this work we subjected Nostoc sp. CCCryo 231-06, a cyanobacterium capable of living under many different ecological conditions, and also surviving in extreme ones, to a 23-month stay at the International Space Station (the Biology and Mars Experiment, BIOMEX, on the EXPOSE-R2 platform) and returned it to Earth for single-cell genome analysis. We used microfluidic technology and single cell sequencing to identify the changes that occurred in the whole genome of single Nostoc cells. The variant profile showed that biofilm and photosystem associated loci were the most altered, with an increased variant rate of synonymous base pair substitutions. The cause(s) of these non-random alterations and their implications to the evolutionary potential of single bacterial cells under long-term cosmic exposure warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12580
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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