Congratulations to Dr. Gaetan Borgonie and team for capturing some amazing video footage of animal life (and some beautiful biofilms) underground! Their recently published study extends previous work by Borgonie et al. that identified a nematode, Halicephalobus mephisto, in a 1.3 km deep gold mine in South Africa. Check out some pictures of the deepest living animal life in either the paper or these articles by BBC and the Washington Post.
This past weekend I participated in the first sampling for Phase II of the Microbial Dark Matter (MDM) project. For this project we are searching for deep branching microbes with no cultured representatives that may reveal new phyla or domains of life using single cell genomics. Prior to this study, Phase I of the MDM project identified genomes of microorganisms belonging to, what scientists proposed to be, two new super phyla and generated over 200 previously-unidentified genomes to help improve the taxonomic assignment of metagenomic reads.
With Phase II of this project, we want to continue the exploration of enigmatic members of the tree of life Continue reading