First results of the «Baikal Initiatives» winner’s expedition.
Sergey Potapov, head of the project on characteristics of viromes and assessment of viral contamination of Lake Baikal, talked about the expedition of the Limnological Institute Siberian Branch of the RAS, which took place in early June in the whole basin of Baikal. His research team also joined to collect samples of viromes. Also, S. Potapov shared plans of the scientific group on this project.
Virome – pool of viruses’ DNA sequences, the research of which will help to assess viral diversity in Lake Baikal and to determine, what kind of viruses are present, including pathogenic and conditionally-pathogenic kinds.
Necessary samples were taken in the central station of the logs – Listvyanka – Tankhoy on the research vessel of the Limnological Institute «G.Yu. Vereshchagin», using systems of bathometers. The bathometer is a special instrument for measuring water depth and getting water samples at the different depths.
S. Potapov explained, how exactly the samples of viromes are taken:
«The bathometers sink to the target depth. Аt the necessary depth they close. In sum, 21 liters of water is taken from one station. From each layer (surface, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50 meters) 3,5 liters of Baikal water is extracted. Then all is mixed. Therefore, we get the water from all layers in equal proportion. After that, we filter the sample through several filters to remove big particles, zoo-, phytoplankton and bacteria. For removing bacteria, we use filters, diameter of which is only 200 nanometers. At the end, in the filtered sample we have mostly viral particles».
What are the next important stages of this research?
- Concentration of the sample up 200 microliters for getting high concentration of viral particles.
- Visualization of viral particles in the concentration sample on the special microscope to receive final and concrete number of the viral particles.
- Extraction of the DNA from the concentrated sample.
- DNA Sequencing, which allow to get a huge number of small DNA sequences of the viruses.
- Bioinformatics analysis of received sequences, their comparison with data bases and functional gene analysis.
- Interpretation of the results.
The project became one of the winners of «Baikal Initiative» in 2020. The researchers are planning to share the results of the project this year.
On the picture: participant of the project A. Krasnopeev (photo is granted by S. Potapov).