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Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems$
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Thomas S. Bianchi and Elizabeth A. Canuel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134147

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134147.001.0001

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Nucleic Acids and Molecular Tools

Nucleic Acids and Molecular Tools

(p.127) 7. Nucleic Acids and Molecular Tools
Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems

Thomas S. Bianchi

Elizabeth A. Canuel

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines nucleic acids, polymers of RNA and DNA, which act as the templates for protein synthesis. High levels of nucleic acids in microbes contribute to their elevated nitrogen and phosphorus contents. In recent years, isotopic signatures of nucleic acids have provided new insights about the sources of carbon-supporting bacterial activity. The chapter discusses recent efforts to bridge the fields of organic geochemistry and molecular ecology. The coupling of biomarker information to molecular (genetic) data has the potential to provide new insights about specific sediment microbial communities and their effects on sediment organic matter. Recent studies have provided information about the evolutionary basis of biosynthetic pathways, which influence the capabilities of microorganisms to utilize specific substrates and the synthesis of unique biomarkers. Such efforts demonstrate the impact that microorganisms have on organic geochemistry.

Keywords:   nucleic acids, protein synthesis, organic geochemistry, molecular ecology, biomarkers, biosynthetic pathways, microorganisms

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