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Scientific classification
Domain: Archaea
Kingdom: "Crenarchaeota" or incertae sedis
Phylum: "Thaumarchaeota" Brochier-Armanet et al. 2008


The Thaumarchaeota (from the Greek 'thaumas', meaning wonder) are a phylum of the Archaea proposed in 2008 after the genome of Cenarchaeum symbiosum was sequenced and found to differ significantly from other members of the hyperthermophilic phylum Crenarchaeota.[1][2] Three described species in addition to C. symbosium are Nitrosopumilus maritimus, Nitrososphaera viennensis, and Nitrososphaera gargensis.[2] All organisms of this lineage thus far identified are chemolithoautotrophic ammonia-oxidizers and may play important roles in biogeochemical cycles, such as the nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle.

The phylum was proposed in 2008 based on phylogenetic data, such as the sequences of these organisms' ribosomal RNA genes, and the presence of a form of type I topoisomerase that was previously thought to be unique to the eukaryotes.[2][3] This assignment was confirmed by further analysis published in 2010 that examined the genomes of the ammonia-oxidizing archaea Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Nitrososphaera gargensis, concluding that these species form a distinct lineage that includes Cenarchaeum symbiosum.[4]


  1. ^ Tourna, Maria; Stieglmeier, Michaela; Spang, Anja; Könneke, Martin; Schintlmeister, Arno; Urich, Tim; Engel, Marion; Schloter, Michael; Wagner, Michael (2011). "Nitrososphaera viennensis, an ammonia oxidizing archaeon from soil". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (20): 8420–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.1013488108. PMC 3100973. PMID 21525411. 
  2. ^ a b c Brochier-Armanet, Céline; Boussau, Bastien; Gribaldo, Simonetta; Forterre, Patrick (2008). "Mesophilic crenarchaeota: Proposal for a third archaeal phylum, the Thaumarchaeota". Nature Reviews Microbiology 6 (3): 245–52. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1852. PMID 18274537. 
  3. ^ Brochier-Armanet, Céline; Gribaldo, Simonetta; Forterre, Patrick (2008). "A DNA topoisomerase IB in Thaumarchaeota testifies for the presence of this enzyme in the last common ancestor of Archaea and Eucarya". Biology Direct 3: 54. doi:10.1186/1745-6150-3-54. PMC 2621148. PMID 19105819. 
  4. ^ Spang, Anja; Hatzenpichler, Roland; Brochier-Armanet, Céline; Rattei, Thomas; Tischler, Patrick; Spieck, Eva; Streit, Wolfgang; Stahl, David A.; Wagner, Michael (2010). "Distinct gene set in two different lineages of ammonia-oxidizing archaea supports the phylum Thaumarchaeota". Trends in Microbiology 18 (8): 331–40. doi:10.1016/j.tim.2010.06.003. PMID 20598889.