Miller.BradleyW from epamail.epa.gov
(by Miller.BradleyW from epamail.epa.gov)
Thu May 12 10:37:31 EST 2011
A New, Somewhat Moldy Branch On The Tree Of Life
by RICHARD HARRIS
If you think biologists have a pretty good idea about what lives on
the Earth, think again. Scientists say they have just now
discovered an entirely new branch on the tree of life. It's made up
of mysterious microscopic organisms. They're related to fungus,
but they are so different, you could argue that they deserve their
very own kingdom, alongside plants and animals.
This comes as a big surprise. Just a few years ago, professor
Timothy James and his colleagues sat down and wrote the
definitive scientific paper to describe the fungal tree of life.
"We thought we knew what about the major groups that existed,"
says James, who is curator of fungus at the University of Michigan.
"Many groups have excellent drawings of these fungi from the last
Many fungi are already familiar. There are mushrooms, yeasts, molds like
the one that makes penicillin,
plant diseases such as rusts and smuts. Mildew in your shower is one,
along with athlete's foot. There
are even fungi that infect insects — as well as fungi that live on other
Biologists figure they've probably only cataloged about 10 percent of all
fungal species. But they
thought they at least knew all of the major groups.
Oops. A paper being published in the journal Nature says that isn't so.
Thomas Richards, at the Natural
History Museum in London, says biologists can mostly only study
microscopic fungi if they can grow
them in the lab.
"But the reality is most of the diversity of life we can't grow in a
laboratory. It exists in the environment,"
Read more here
Thanks for your time.
Bradley W. Miller, Ph.D.
Post Doctoral Fellow
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division
5995 Center Hill Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45224-1702
Office: (513) 487-2889 Miller.BradleyW from epa.gov
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The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of beautiful hypothesis by an
ugly fact.— Thomas H. Huxley
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