Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Evolutionary biology

Oceans of bacteria

Cloning microbial genes from natural environments has revealed a surprising amount of diversity. In understanding how microorganisms function in ecosystems, how much of this diversity really matters?

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Selective sweeps and bonsai trees.


  1. Acinas, S. G. et al. Nature 430, 551–554 (2004).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Rappe, M. S. & Giovannoni, S. J. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 57, 369–394 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Giovannoni, S. J., Britschgi, T. B., Moyer, C. L. & Field, K. G. Nature 345, 60–63 (1990).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Venter, J. C. et al. Science 304, 66–74 (2004).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Sonea, S. & Panisset, M. A New Bacteriology (Jones & Bartlett, Boston, MA, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Nelson, K. E. et al. Nature 399, 323–329 (1999).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Doolittle, W. F. Trends Cell Biol. 9, M5–M8 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Daubin, V., Moran, N. A. & Ochman, H. Science 301, 829–832 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Cohan, F. M. Syst. Biol. 50, 513–524 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Kimura, M. Nature 217, 624–626 (1968).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Giovannoni, S. Oceans of bacteria. Nature 430, 515–516 (2004).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing