Faculty Publications


One-dimensional TRFLP-SSCP is an effective DNA fingerprinting strategy for soil Archaea that is able to simultaneously differentiate broad taxonomic clades based on terminal fragment length polymorphisms and closely related sequences based on single stranded conformation polymorphisms

Document Type



Biogeography, Microbial ecology, Soil microbial diversity, SSCP, Thaumarchaeota, TRFLP

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Microbiological Methods





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Last Page



DNA fingerprinting methods provide a means to rapidly compare microbial assemblages from environmental samples without the need to first cultivate species in the laboratory. The profiles generated by these techniques are able to identify statistically significant temporal and spatial patterns, correlations to environmental gradients, and biological variability to estimate the number of replicates for clone libraries or next generation sequencing (NGS) surveys. Here we describe an improved DNA fingerprinting technique that combines terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms (TRFLP) and single stranded conformation polymorphisms (SSCP) so that both can be used to profile a sample simultaneously rather than requiring two sequential steps as in traditional two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis. For the purpose of profiling Archaeal 16S rRNA genes from soil, the dynamic range of this combined 1-D TRFLP-SSCP approach was superior to TRFLP and SSCP. 1-D TRFLP-SSCP was able to distinguish broad taxonomic clades with genetic distances greater than 10%, such as Euryarchaeota and the Thaumarchaeal clades g_. Ca. Nitrososphaera (formerly 1.1b) and o_NRP-J (formerly 1.1c) better than SSCP. In addition, 1-D TRFLP-SSCP was able to simultaneously distinguish closely related clades within a genus such as s_SCA1145 and s_SCA1170 better than TRFLP. We also tested the utility of 1-D TRFLP-SSCP fingerprinting of environmental assemblages by comparing this method to the generation of a 16S rRNA clone library of soil Archaea from a restored Tallgrass prairie. This study shows 1-D TRFLP-SSCP fingerprinting provides a rapid and phylogenetically informative screen of Archaeal 16S rRNA genes in soil samples. © 2013.


Department of Biology

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DOI of published version