New lifeforms discovered that may revolutionize science!

by simonsaad on September 17, 2017 - 6:14pm

New lifeforms discovered that may revolutionize science!


Contrary to popular belief, we humans are very far from knowing about every living thing on the planet. As a matter of act, previous studies show that over 98% of the Earth’s species are yet to be discovered. This is because the great majority of living organisms on our planet are extremely small; they are what we call bacteria and archaebacteria. Unfortunately, these organisms can be extremely difficult to study, since they usually only grow and live in their own environment. For example, a certain bacteria might only live inside the gut of a giraffe, or in the very bottom of the ocean! However, a new method, using genetic analysis, has allowed Australian researchers to discover thousands of these species that were previously almost impossible to study. But how is this revolutionary?

 

To begin, the discovery of these organisms can greatly enlarge the world’s knowledge in terms of biology. The researchers were able to add twenty new big branches, called phyla, to the known tree of life. This is extremely relevant, since one single phylum can contain an enormous amount of species. For instance, all animals containing backbones, including mammals, reptiles and birds are part of the same phylum, while all invertebrates, including insects and spiders, are part of a different one. Therefore, adding twenty phyla to the tree of life is a huge advancement in biology. These discoveries might also help us develop knowledge about our own origins; we might learn more about the common ancestor that we share with all living species on our planet!

 

Moreover, discovering new organisms does not only influence the world’s scientific knowledge in biology. It can also have great impacts on medicine, industrial development and environment. For now, the new microbes are yet to be studied on a deeper level, but when they will be, scientists might discover microbes that could be extremely useful to our wellbeing. For instance, they might discover new antibiotics, a bacterium that could break down plastic to reduce pollution or even a microbe that can help us create artificial fuel for the cars we use!

 

In brief, these discoveries could be life-changing and may have a direct impact on all of our lives. To read more about the subject, you may read the complete article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2146942-thousands-of-new-lifeforms-discovered-that-redraw-tree-of-life/

Comments

I really enjoyed reading your summary of the article for multiple reasons.

To begin, you really make the subject intriguing by showing how little our knowledge is compared to the reality. This is done by your use of statistics that you clearly explained.

Also, you make it captivating by presenting why is discovering new life forms important. It gives us the desire to learn more about the possibility of a expansion of the organization of life because you present it clearly and you emphasize on the fact that it is “a huge advancement in biology.”

Furthermore, you also bring a point that is more interesting for the entire population, scientific or not. This point is the impact that new life form discoveries can have on the medical, industrial and environmental domain. You are capturing the attention of a larger number of readers here because these subjects are part of the everyday life of everyone. As well, these are subjects that are often on the news. Then, the few examples of life-changing result of such discoveries make the reader want to know more about the subject of discovering new life forms and other examples of result that can come from it. Thus, it was as good idea to end your text with this.

In the same order of ideas, I read an article titled “New life form discovered in saliva is linked to human disease.” It was written by Andy Coghlan and published on June 23, 2016. This article appears on the New Scientist's website that will be linked at the end of this comment.

This article gives an example of a new life form that was discovered. Indeed, Coghlan wrote about the discovery of a parasitic bacteria found in our saliva that can be the cause of diseases such as “gum disease, cystic fibrosis and antimicrobial resistance.” In the article, the author really shows that this new discovery is a unique and important step in biology. These bacterias were never found before because they were “difficult to grow and study in the laboratory.” In addition, they are “ultra-small bacteria, and live on the surface of other bacteria.” This also shows how unique this bacteria is because is “the first species ever discovered to parasitise another bacterium.” Coghlan gives a clear explanation on how they are so unique. This article also shows the importance of this discovery for everyone. Indeed, this gives us a better understanding of some diseases and this an important step in curing them.

To learn more about this example of what Simon explained in his text, you may want to read this article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2094902-new-life-form-discovered-in...

Hi Simon,

I thought your post did a good job of communicating how important the discovery of these new life forms is, and I appreciate that you did so through interesting facts and statistics. Personally, I was surprised to find out that only a small percentage of the Earth's species have been discovered to this day, and I was satisfied by the complete and adequate explanation that you provided as to why that is. Also, I must say that your summary of the positive impacts that discovering new organisms could have on a large variety of fields ended up bringing me back to the original article to read more on this subject.

In my opinion, it would have been a good addition to your post to include some information on how the process of genetic analysis works, and how it contributes to discovering new species. I admit, however, that I was left puzzled on this matter even after reading the original article that you cited, since it provided no further explanation.

I did some digging of my own and came across a similar article that explains that the genetic analysis is done with the help of a technique referred to as "metagenomics". This technique requires the use of heavy-duty computers to sequence all the DNA in a given sample and then group together the pieces belonging to each organism, known or unknown. The new organisms that are discovered during this process are then associated with an existing phylum or sorted into a completely new one.

I hope you find this information useful, and if you wish to read the full article, you may do so by clicking on the following link:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23531433-200-dark-matter-microbes...

I look forward to reading more posts from you,

Enya Jaime