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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1998 Dec;8(6):649-54.

Everything in moderation: archaea as 'non-extremophiles'.

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  • 1Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA.


Well characterized and cultivated archaea are prokaryotic specialists that thrive in habitats of elevated temperature, low pH, high salinity, or strict anoxia. Recently, however, new groups of abundant, uncultivated archaea have been found to be widespread in more pedestrian biotopes, including marine plankton, terrestrial soils, lakes, marine and freshwater sediments, and in association with metazoa. Research efforts are presently focused on characterizing the physiology, biochemistry and genetics of these abundant and cosmopolitan but poorly understood archaea.

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