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Biodiversity of French soils MetaTAXOMIC

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Published on 24 October 2016

The MetaTAXOMIC-RMQS project is designed to characterize the bacterial taxonomic diversity of French soils using the Network for the Measurement of Soil Quality (RMQS). The network consists of 2200 soil samples from throughout France with very precise physicochemical and environmental characterization for each sample. Telluric bacterial diversity was analyzed using massive sequencing techniques (pyrosequencing) for the taxonomic genes (rrs) directly from the DNA extracted from the soil. The project enables:

  1. quantification and precise referencing of the biodiversity of French soils,
  2. definition of spatial distribution on a nationwide scale (biogeography, mapping),
  3. elucidating the regulation and evolution of the biodiversity of soils under various environmental pressures (agricultural, industrial, urban, climates, etc.). 

MetaTAXOMIC-RMQS is positioned as a « basic research project » while there are also parallel technical objectives, which consist in developing bioinformatics and statistical tools enabling high-throughput analysis of taxonomic sequences and their provision to the scientific community via certain platforms (GenoSol, GenoTool, Genoscope, etc.). The operational objectives are as follows:

  1. quantifying the impact of anthropic activities on the erosion of diversity,
  2. identifying biomarkers of soil quality and its time course,
  3. structuring a multidisciplinary skill network with regard to the biodiversity of soils,
  4. compiling an atlas of soil diversity in order to define tools for decision-making with respect to soil management.


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