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Nanoarchaeota: New life under the sea

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Invisible to the naked eye, a tiny microbe living on another microbe has recently been discovered in the sea. Considering the small size and minimalist genome, the researchers named the new organism Nanoarchaeum equitans.

The electron micrographs helped the researchers identify N. equitans, which can be seen as small spherical structures attached to the cells of Ignicoccus.

See related GNN article
»Discovery of undersea creature leads to new archaeal phylum

The newly discovered Nanoarchaeum equitans (tiny cells) attached to its host Ignicoccus spec. (big cells). Fluorescence light micrograph taken after DNA-specific staining. Bar 5 Ám.
Co-culture of Ignicoccus spec. (green) and Nanoarchaeum equitans (red). ss rRNA sequence-specific fluorescence staining. Confocal laser micrograph. Bar 1 Ám.
Cell of Ignicoccus spec. (big) with cells of Nanoarchaeum equitans (tiny) attached to its surface. Electron micrograph. Pt-contrasting. Bar 1 Ám.

Birgit Reinert

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