New group of eukaryotes discovered

In summary, Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism that's so different from other living things that it doesn't fit into the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or any other kingdom used to classify known organisms. They represent a major branch... that we didn't know we were missing, and this has important implications for our understanding of the deep-level evolutionary history of eukaryotic life.
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Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism that's so different from other living things that it doesn't fit into the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or any other kingdom used to classify known organisms.

Two species of the microscopic organisms, called hemimastigotes, were found in dirt collected on a whim during a hike in Nova Scotia by Dalhousie University graduate student Yana Eglit.

A genetic analysis shows they're more different from other organisms than animals and fungi (which are in different kingdoms) are from each other, representing a completely new part of the tree of life, Eglit and her colleagues report this week in the journal Nature.

"They represent a major branch… that we didn't know we were missing," said Dalhousie biology professor Alastair Simpson, Eglit's supervisor and co-author of the new study.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/hemimastigotes-supra-kingdom-1.4715823

Citation to the paper being discussed:
Lax et al. Hemimastigophora is a novel supra-kingdom-level lineage of eukaryotes. Nature. Published online 14 Nov 2018.
Almost all eukaryote life forms have now been placed within one of five to eight supra-kingdom-level groups using molecular phylogenetics1,2,3,4. The ‘phylum’ Hemimastigophora is probably the most distinctive morphologically defined lineage that still awaits such a phylogenetic assignment. First observed in the nineteenth century, hemimastigotes are free-living predatory protists with two rows of flagella and a unique cell architecture5,6,7; to our knowledge, no molecular sequence data or cultures are currently available for this group. Here we report phylogenomic analyses based on high-coverage, cultivation-independent transcriptomics that place Hemimastigophora outside of all established eukaryote supergroups. They instead comprise an independent supra-kingdom-level lineage that most likely forms a sister clade to the ‘Diaphoretickes’ half of eukaryote diversity (that is, the ‘stramenopiles, alveolates and Rhizaria’ supergroup (Sar), Archaeplastida and Cryptista, as well as other major groups). The previous ranking of Hemimastigophora as a phylum understates the evolutionary distinctiveness of this group, which has considerable importance for investigations into the deep-level evolutionary history of eukaryotic life—ranging from understanding the origins of fundamental cell systems to placing the root of the tree. We have also established the first culture of a hemimastigote (Hemimastix kukwesjijk sp. nov.), which will facilitate future genomic and cell-biological investigations into eukaryote evolution and the last eukaryotic common ancestor.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0708-8
 
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Amazing to think that there are still so very many lifeforms we don't know about here on Earth.
 
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Anything small is not so easy to find and ID.
Until molecular analyses, archaea and bacteria were indistinguishable and even within those groups many different kinds of bacteria (or archaea) were indistinguishable.
Bacteria in water used to be IDed by culturing them, but only something like 1-5% of bacteria have been cultured.

I just read about a group that found 16 new giant viruses in forest dirt (where the new hemimastigotes were found).
Giant viruses have been know before, but these seem to be new.
 
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Related to New group of eukaryotes discovered

1. What is the significance of this new group of eukaryotes being discovered?

The discovery of new groups of eukaryotes allows scientists to expand their understanding of the diversity of life on Earth. It also provides valuable insights into the evolution and adaptation of these organisms.

2. How were these new eukaryotes discovered?

These eukaryotes were most likely discovered through extensive genetic sequencing and analysis. Scientists may have also used specialized microscopy techniques to visualize and study these organisms.

3. What makes these eukaryotes different from other known groups?

The differences between these eukaryotes and other known groups can vary, but they may include unique genetic characteristics, distinct physical features, and specialized adaptations for survival in their environment.

4. Can these eukaryotes be harmful to humans or the environment?

As with any new group of organisms, it is important to conduct further research to fully understand their potential impact on humans and the environment. However, it is unlikely that these eukaryotes pose a significant threat, as they are likely to have existed in their respective ecosystems for a long time without causing any harm.

5. What future research is needed to learn more about these new eukaryotes?

Scientists will need to conduct further studies on these eukaryotes to understand their biology, behavior, and ecological roles. This may include studying their interactions with other organisms, their role in nutrient cycling, and their potential for biotechnological applications.

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