Over 7,000 new microbial species in the oceans were discovered by researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which made the results public on Monday.
The new species found including acidobacteria, a natural medicinal phylum with the CRISPR gene editing system discovered at sea for the first time, shedded new light on human’s understanding of microbial biodiversity in the oceans and brought hope to the development of new drugs.
Led by Qian Peiyuan, a professor of the Department of Ocean Science at HKUST, the research team collaborated with peers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, University of Georgia in the United States and University of Queensland in Australia on sourcing water samples across Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Over a span of eight years, the team developed biofilms with the water samples on different materials, eventually discovering more than 7,000 new biofilm-forming species and 10 new bacterial phyla, breaking the existing belief that the world has only 35,000 marine microbial species and 80 bacterial phyla. Read more