DNA analysis of the oceans reveals new single-celled species and hitherto unknown chemical compounds

(ORDO NEWS) — DNA analysis of the oceans has revealed not only new species, but also hitherto unknown chemical compounds with interesting potential for medicine as well.

These are the results of a long study carried out by two research groups at the Institute of Microbiology at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute, reports Nature.

“Every living organism scatters in the environment in which it lives more or less large fragments of its DNA, a sequence of information that encodes the production of proteins necessary for biological activity, and in recent years it has become possible to study the presence and characteristics of organisms simply by collecting samples of the environment. environment (in this case, water) to hunt for the species present, even if they are invisible, ”the publication reports.

This is the so-called ecological DNA or eDna, and the Swiss researchers decided to re-analyze, using updated methods, a base that had already been collected and studied during various research missions in the oceans around the world.

In this way it became possible to discover many new species of single-celled organisms hitherto unknown, including the whole family of Eudoremicrobium malaspinii, closely related to organisms hitherto thought to live only outside water.

One of the most important aspects of the research was also the identification, in some 35,000 different classified genomes, of groups of hitherto unknown new genes capable of producing biological molecules whose characteristics are not yet known.

Molecules that were once analyzed in detail could also find applications in the medical field, such as the development of new antibiotics.

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