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'Generalist bacteria' discovered in coastal waters may be more flexible than known before
Date:1/27/2008

been able to begin identifying the bacteria in oceans at all. Part of this is simply because ocean bacteria are notoriously hard to culture in the lab, and many cant be cultured yet at all. This makes studying them extremely difficult. New methods, however, are making such studies easier. One of them, which formed the basis for this research, is metagenomics, which bypasses the culturing step entirely by directly sequencing the mixture of bacterial genomes in seawater.

Understanding more about the genomes of bacteria has allowed researchers to ask much narrower questions than ever before, and the result has been a new ability to understand how marine bacteria live and interact in the ocean.

The research in the current study was done in an area off the coast of Sapelo Island, Ga., and while the findings about bacterial generalists may hold true for similar coastal ecosystems, researchers dont know if the same will be true in deep-ocean or other sea environments.

We can understand a great deal about the health of the oceans by understanding more about how the bacteria that live in our coastal waters function, said Moran.

The idea for bacterial generalists isnt new, but this is the first experimental evidence for marine coastal bacteria as generalists.


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Contact: Kim Osborne
kosborne@uga.edu
706-542-8083
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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