Soils from the hyperarid Atacama Desert of northern Chile were sampled along an east-west elevational transect (23.75 to 24.70 degrees S) through the driest sector to compare the relative structure of bacterial communities. Analysis of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles from each of the samples revealed that microbial communities from the extreme hyperarid core of the desert clustered separately from all of the remaining communities. Bands sequenced from DGGE profiles of two samples taken at a 22-month interval from this core region revealed the presence of similar populations dominated by bacteria from the Gemmatimonadetes and Planctomycetes phyla.
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Bacterial community structure in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, Chile