Similar mutation rates but different mutation spectra in moderate and extremely halophilic archaea

Sibel Kucukyildirim, Huseyin Ozgur Ozdemirel, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archaea are a major part of Earth's microbiota and extremely diverse. Yet, we know very little about the process of mutation that drives such diversification. To expand beyond previous work with the moderate halophilic archaeal species Haloferax volcanii, we performed a mutation-accumulation experiment followed by whole-genome sequencing in the extremely halophilic archaeon Halobacterium salinarum. Although Hfx. volcanii and Hbt. salinarum have different salt requirements, both species have highly polyploid genomes and similar GC content. We accumulated mutations for an average of 1250 generations in 67 mutation accumulation lines of Hbt. salinarum, and revealed 84 single-base substitutions and 10 insertion-deletion mutations. The estimated base-substitution mutation rate of 3.99 × 10−10 per site per generation or 1.0 × 10−3 per genome per generation in Hbt. salinarum is similar to that reported for Hfx. volcanii (1.2 × 10−3 per genome per generation), but the genome-wide insertion-deletion rate and spectrum of mutations are somewhat dissimilar in these archaeal species. The spectra of spontaneous mutations were AT biased in both archaea, but they differed in significant ways that may be related to differences in the fidelity of DNA replication/repair mechanisms or a simple result of the different salt concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjkac303
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • haloarchaea
  • Halobacterium salinarum
  • mutation accumulation
  • mutation rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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