Nature magazine recently published an article on recent modifications to the "Tree of Life" - or how organisms are related on a genetic basis. The modifications to the tree of life are based on recent advances in high throughput metagenomic testing. Even just 30 years ago, we could only get information on microbes that grew in a lab environment. This excluded a majority of environmental microbial species. The first attempts to organize the microbes into phyla was based on growth and metabolic (physical) characteristics.
What is interesting is the same technologies used in creating the new Tree of Life are also being used by companies such as Aster Bio to fully understand at the DNA level the microbial diversity and processes in both soil and water. Using metagenomic testing on environmental samples, we are able to determine what organisms are present along with relative frequency. From this, we get snapshots of ecological changes that occur in both time and spatial horizons.
Here is the resulting graphic and a link to the article: http://www.nature.com/articles/nmicrobiol201648
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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