Small, But Not Overlooked

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Science  22 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5807, pp. 1837k
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5807.1837k

From a fragment of DNA obtained during a metagenomic study of a microbial community living in acid mine drainage, Baker et al. (p. 1933) have obtained evidence for a low-abundance lineage of archaea they call ARMAN (Archaeal Richmond Mine Acidophilic Nanoorganism). The DNA fragment carries a ribosomal RNA gene that indicates the organism's deep divergence from other archaeal groups. Members of the ARMAN group carry a gene encoding a pyrophosphatase that can be used in extracting energy from pyrite. Visualization with fluorescent in situ hybridization has revealed very small, ribosome-packed, irregularly shaped cells.

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