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Title: The geographic distributions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces paradoxus, and the potential to detect past yeast populations with ancient DNA
Author: Robinson, Heather Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 4880
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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It is acknowledged that some microbes have interrupted distributions, yet these distributions have rarely been correlated with environmental variables. The wild biogeography of the fermenting yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces paradoxus are explored in this study, considering multiple environmental variables as potential effectors of each species' geographical distributions. I demonstrate that summer temperatures predict maximum species distribution limits for both S. paradoxus and S. cerevisiae on oak bark, and that S. paradoxus is more likely to be isolated from larger, older trees. Modelling these data predicts a generally denser southern European population of S. paradoxus, with S. cerevisiae being scarce on oak bark throughout Europe. It was not possible to recover ancient Saccharomyces DNA sequences from samples of sub-fossilized oaks, from Greco-Roman and North African amphora residues, or from North African 6th-14th Century pottery residues, which may be a consequence of the low concentration of these species in comparable modern environmental samples. Even from air dried breads and recent wines, Saccharomyces aDNA was not recovered as part of this study, although ancient DNA sequences from plants and other yeasts were identified in other samples via the same methods. Any future recovery of ancient Saccharomyces sequences may therefore be challenging. Novel plant sequences possibly belonging to the Musaceae family and Pinus genus were identified from 6th-14th century AD North African pottery; as well as a Vicia-like DNA sequence from a 13th-12th century BC North African amphora.
Supervisor: Brown, Terence ; Bensasson, Douda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ancient DNA ; microbial ecology ; yeast