For decades, longtime JGI collaborator Bill Inskeep of Montana State University has been conducting microbial field studies at Yellowstone National Park. In Nature Microbiology, he and his team describe a candidate phylum-level lineage of aerobic archaea found in iron-oxide microbial mats dubbed Marsarchaeota. Through the JGI’s Community Science Program, the team used metagenome assemblies, transcriptomes and single amplified genomes from samples collected from several locations to thoroughly characterize the archaeal lineage, information that they believe will lend insights into discussions on the origin of archaea. The discovery of aerobic, thermophilic Marsarchaeota in these microbial mats provides the team with clues on how early life evolved on Earth as iron is believed to have played a key role in redox processes important in the formation and evolution of early life on Earth. Read the whole story on the JGI website.
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