Despite the multitudes of microbes that reside on earth, our knowledge of them is quite limited. Of the estimated nonillion [10 to the 30th power] that exist, scientists have or are in the process of decoding 2,000 microbial genomes, which means there is a vast unknown realm awaiting those researchers intent on exploring microorganisms that inhabit this planet. In hopes of exploring that realm and expanding our understanding of microbes, a team from the the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) have released the first volume of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA), an analysis of the first 56 genomes representing two of the three domains of the tree of life. The encyclopedia is detailed in the December 24 issue of Nature.
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