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Earth Science

DNA Analysis Hints At a Fourth Domain of Life 124

ecesar writes "The Economist is reporting on a recent paper published in the Public Library of Science, which suggests there might be at least one other, previously hidden, domain of life (besides eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea). Using DNA sequence data generated directly from environmental samples, the authors found sequences not yet seen in any cultured organism."
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DNA Analysis Hints At a Fourth Domain of Life

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  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:42PM (#35607674) Homepage Journal

    .. and I am underwhelmed.

    First figure does not identify (at cursory look) domains and the second figure shows "unknown" samples mixed up between bacteria and killer plasmids or between different branches of eukaryota.

    Frankly, I spent only a minute looking at this paper, so anybody who went deeper please share

  • DNA is limiting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @10:42PM (#35607678)

    The Venter approach is something akin to taking a library, putting the whole thing through a paper shredder, and trying to figure out how many languages there were in the library from a statistical analysis of the groupings of the letters on each piece of paper. It is marvelous, but it has its limits.

    If there were true aliens among us (microscopic organisms that did not use DNA for genetics), the Venter approach would not see them. I do not know of a good way to luck for such creatures, but I wish someone would figure one out, and apply it to something like Venter's samples.

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