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Volume 7 Issue 2, February 2022

Genome chimerism in Asgard archaea

Shown is an undersea image of Diane’s vent, which is a hydrothermal chimney in the Auka vent field, southern Pescadero Basin. The photo was taken with the remotely operated vehicle SuBastian during cruise number FK181031, aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor, led by co-chief scientists Dave Caress, Robert Zierenberg and Victoria Orphan. In this issue, Orphan, Wu and colleagues report that they recovered circular genomes of Asgard archaea through laboratory enrichment of rocks and sediment samples retrieved from the Auka vent field. These genomes contain mobile elements and evidence of gene exchanges that hint at the processes that resulted in the emergence of eukaryotes.

See Wu et al.

Image: Schmidt Ocean Institute. Cover Design: Valentina Monaco.

Comment & Opinion

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  • Many bacteria and archaea are polyploid. Here, the means by which some of these prokaryotes carry genomes that are not always equivalent in sequence and/or function are described, and the importance of such non-equivalent genomes is discussed.

    • Jörg Soppa
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News & Views

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    • Taylor E. Reiter
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