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Soo RM, Skennerton CT, Sekiguchi Y, Imelfort M, Paech SJ, Dennis PG, Steen JA, Parks DH, Tyson GW, Hugenholtz P.2014. Photosynthesis is not a universal feature of the phylum Cyanobacteria. PeerJ PrePrints2:e204v2https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.204v2
Molecular surveys of aphotic habitats have indicated the presence of major uncultured lineages phylogenetically classified as members of the Cyanobacteria. One of these lineages has recently been proposed as a non-photosynthetic sister phylum to the Cyanobacteria, the Melainabacteria, based on recovery of standard draft population genomes from human gut and groundwater samples. Here, we expand the phylogenomic representation of the Melainabacteria through sequencing of six diverse population genomes from gut and bioreactor samples supporting the inference that this lineage is non-photosynthetic, but not the assertion that they are strictly fermentative. We propose that the Melainabacteria is a class within the phylogenetically defined Cyanobacteria based on robust monophyly and shared ancestral traits with photosynthetic representatives. Our findings are consistent with theories that photosynthesis occurred late in the Cyanobacteria and involved extensive lateral gene transfer, and refutes the long held belief that oxygenic photosynthesis is a universal feature of this phylum.
This is version 2 of the submission to PeerJ preprints. Table 1, Table S5 and the IMG/ER numbers have been updated.