Smallest Known Living Organisms Found – 200 nanometers

Posted on December 23, 2006  Comments (0)

Shotgun sequencing finds nanoorganisms by Robert Sanders:

Once Baker had found gene segments (ribosomal RNA) from three Archaea, he was able to fish the microbes out of the slime soup and found that they were extremely small, around 200 nanometers in diameter, the size of large viruses. Bacteria average about five times this diameter. These therefore could be the smallest organisms ever found, though Baker needs to culture them before confirming this. Because they’re so small, however, they may not be free-living.

“We’re not sure they can live independently, whether they have enough genes to fend for themselves, but instead are symbiotic with another organism or are feeding off another organism,” Baker said. Baker now is trying to find the right conditions for these Archaea to thrive in a culture dish. For now, he has dubbed them ARMAN-1, -2 and -3, for Archaeal Richmond Mine Acidophilic Nanoorganisms.

Related: Microbe Types (Archaea, Bacteria, Fungi, Protista and VirusesLife Untouched by the SunWhat is an Extremophile?

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