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Genome Biol Evol. 2018 Mar 1;10(3):707-715. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evy031.

Microbial Dark Matter Investigations: How Microbial Studies Transform Biological Knowledge and Empirically Sketch a Logic of Scientific Discovery.

Author information

1
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, Institut de Biologie Paris-Seine (IBPS), France.

Abstract

Microbes are the oldest and most widespread, phylogenetically and metabolically diverse life forms on Earth. However, they have been discovered only 334 years ago, and their diversity started to become seriously investigated even later. For these reasons, microbial studies that unveil novel microbial lineages and processes affecting or involving microbes deeply (and repeatedly) transform knowledge in biology. Considering the quantitative prevalence of taxonomically and functionally unassigned sequences in environmental genomics data sets, and that of uncultured microbes on the planet, we propose that unraveling the microbial dark matter should be identified as a central priority for biologists. Based on former empirical findings of microbial studies, we sketch a logic of discovery with the potential to further highlight the microbial unknowns.

PMID:
29420719
PMCID:
PMC5830969
DOI:
10.1093/gbe/evy031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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