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A Whiff of Taxonomy – Verrucomicrobia, The Bacterial Warthogs

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Unlike warthogs, likely to be considered beautiful only by their mother, the Verrucomicrobia (verruca means “wart, thus the warty bacteria; more about this later) have considerable appeal, be it morphological, physiological, or ecological. This is yet another phylum that owes its recognition to nucleic acid technology. Although few of its members have been cultivated, 16S rRNA studies have confirmed that they are widely distributed in many environments, such as fresh water, oceans, soils, and even vertebrate feces. Some are host-associated, their hosts including humans and, just because you need to know it, their proportion in the gut of ground squirrels increases as they hibernate. There are no known pathogens in this group although suspicion has arisen.

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