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Metagenomic strategies identify diverse integron-integrase and antibiotic resistance genes in the Antarctic environment

…The sampled sites showed different antimicrobial resistance profiles. If we observe only the metagenomes sequenced from the Fildes peninsula, we could distinguish sites with a high richness of ARGs and others where we could not detect them at all. This suggests that the presence of “clinically-derived” ARGs is patchy at the landscape and that there are certain factors that influence their presence. Sewage waters derived from human activity have already been described as one of these factors. In this work, the sewage impacted site could also be associated with the presence of integrons bearing antibiotic resistance GCs. In the rest of the samples, we could detect a wide diversity of integrases but not directly associated with known antimicrobial resistance functions. Therefore, the lack of association between ARGs and integrons in the samples analyzed supports the idea that evolutionary mechanisms that contribute to select resistance genes in a population are related to environmental pressures.

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