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Scanning electron micrograph of the Obsidian Pool enrichment culture, showing Korarchaeota.
Scientific classification
Domain: Archaea
Kingdom: "Proteoarchaeota"
Phylum: Korarchaeota
Barns et al. 1996
  • Korarchaeota Barns et al. 1996
  • Xenarchaea
  • Xenarchaeota

In taxonomy, the Korarchaeota are a phylum of the Archaea.[1] The name is derived from the Greek noun koros or kore, meaning ‘‘young man’’ or ‘‘young woman,’’ and the Greek adjective archaios which means ‘‘ancient.’’[2] They are also known as Xenarchaeota.

Analysis of their 16S rRNA gene sequences suggests that they are a deeply branching lineage that does not belong to the main archaeal groups, Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota.[3] Analysis of the genome of one korarchaeote that was enriched from a mixed culture revealed a number of both Crenarchaeota- and Euryarchaeota-like features and supports the hypothesis of a deep-branching ancestry.[4]


The Korarchaeota have only been found in hydrothermal environments. They will appear to have diversified at different phylogenetic levels according to temperature, salinity (freshwater or seawater), and/or geography.[5] Korarchaeota have been found in nature in only low abundance.[5][6][7]

Each of these six hot springs (from top left, clockwise: Uzon4, Uzon7, Uzon8, Uzon9, Mut11, Mut13) in Kamchatka were found to contain Korarchaeota.
Each of these six hot springs (clockwise from top left: Uzon4, Uzon7, Uzon8, Uzon9, Mut11, Mut13) in Kamchatka was found to contain Korarchaeota.[5]


  1. ^ See the NCBI webpage on Korarchaeota. Data extracted from the "NCBI taxonomy resources". National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  2. ^ James G. Elkins et al., A korarchaeal genome reveals insights into the evolution of the Archaea, Harvard University, PNAS, June 10, 2008, Vol. 105, no. 23, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0801980105
  3. ^ Barns SM, Delwiche CF, Palmer JD, Pace NR (August 1996). "Perspectives on archaeal diversity, thermophily and monophyly from environmental rRNA sequences". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93 (17): 9188–93. Bibcode:1996PNAS...93.9188B. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.17.9188. PMC 38617Freely accessible. PMID 8799176. 
  4. ^ Elkins JG, Podar M, Graham DE, Makarova KS, Wolf Y, Randau L, Hedlund BP, Brochier-Armanet C, Kunin V, Anderson I, Lapidus A, Goltsman E, Barry K, Koonin EV, Hugenholtz P, Kyrpides N, Wanner G, Richardson P, Keller M, Stetter KO (July 2008). "A korarchaeal genome reveals insights into the evolution of the Archaea". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 105 (1): 8805–6. Bibcode:2008PNAS..105.8102E. doi:10.1073/pnas.0801980105. PMC 2430366Freely accessible. PMID 18535141. 
  5. ^ a b c Auchtung TA, Shyndriayeva G, Cavanaugh CM (2011). "16S rRNA phylogenetic analysis and quantification of Korarchaeota indigenous to the hot springs of Kamchatka, Russia". Extremophiles. 15 (1): 105–116. doi:10.1007/s00792-010-0340-5. PMID 21153671. 
  6. ^ Reigstad LJ, Jorgensen SL, Schleper C (2010). "Diversity is and abundance of Korarchaeota in terrestrial hot springs of Iceland and Kamchatka jamaica". ISME J. 4 (3): 346–56. doi:10.1038/ismej.2009.126. PMID 19956276. 
  7. ^ Auchtung Thomas A. (2007) Ecology of the hydrothermal candidate archaeal division, Korarchaeota. PhD thesis, Harvard University.

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