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Scientists discover giant bacteria that can be seen with the naked eye

Scientists discover giant bacteria that can be seen with the naked eye

A team of scientists has discovered a microscopic type of bacteria that lives in the waters of Guadeloupe, in Caribbean. The newly discovered species is called Thiomargarita magnifica, and it is so large that its unique cells are visible to the naked eye, according to a study published in the journal. Sciences.

According to the researchers, the cells of most types of bacteria are about 2 micrometers long, and some reach 750 micrometers. However, Thiomargarita magnifica has an average cell length greater than 9000 μm. It is 5,000 times larger than other living things of the genus and can be picked up with tweezers.

Credit: Thomas Tyml/Laurence Berkeley National LaboratoryGiant bacteria filaments next to a dime

In addition, T. magnifica shows signs of increased complexity in bacteria. Instead of DNA moving around in the cell, your genetic information is hidden within membrane-bound structures like those in humans.

5 thousand times bigger

“The bacteria we discovered are roughly the shape and size of cilia, yet they are a single bacterial cell,” said lead author of the study, Jean-Marie Foland, a marine biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and California Complex Systems Laboratory. Find a press conference.

“These bacteria are about 5,000 times larger than most bacteria,” Volland added. “To put the record straight, it would be equivalent for us humans to find another human who would be as tall as Mount Everest.”

The researchers were able to obtain an image of the bacteria, thanks to “3D microscopy” and at the highest possible magnification.

giant bacteria

Credit: Jean Marie Voland bacterium T. magnifica

The research team sequenced and analyzed the T. magnifica genome and revealed how the bacterium reproduces: one end of the elongated bacterium contracts, dividing the T. magnifica cell in two.

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Genetic analysis showed that the bacteria have a wide genome – about 12 million base pairs, about twice the length of some related bacterial genomes.