Why study Archaea?

Archaea are ancient lifeforms found in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, soil, and the animal microbiome. In these diverse habitats, archaea play vital ecological roles and are especially crucial to global nitrogen cycles and the biogenesis of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In addition to being essential to the environment, archaea also hold enormous potential for biotechnology. Methane gas is a future biofuel, and archaeal enzymes are crucial in fundamental scientific research. These ancient microbes have also helped researchers identify conserved cellular processes in living organisms, thus providing a deeper understanding of how life evolved. With diverse, unique, and constantly changing biological mechanisms, archaea are inspiring and challenging our thinking around the capabilities of life on earth.

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