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Scientific classification
Domain: Archaea
Kingdom: "Proteoarchaeota"
Phylum: "Thaumarchaeota"
Brochier-Armanet et al. 2008

Nitrososphaeria Stieglmeier et al. 2014

The Thaumarchaeota or Thaumarchaea (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]

A study has revealed that Thaumarchaeota are most likely the dominant producers of the critical vitamin B12.[5] Due to this vitamin, this finding has not just important implications for phytoplankton, but also atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as DNA generation and organism development in all life which depends on the vitamin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tourna, Maria; Stieglmeier, Michaela; Spang, Anja; Könneke, Martin; Schintlmeister, Arno; Urich, Tim; Engel, Marion; Schloter, Michael; Wagner, Michael; et al. (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 3100973Freely accessible. 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 2621148Freely accessible. PMID 19105819. 
  4. ^ Spang, Anja; Hatzenpichler, Roland; Brochier-Armanet, Céline; Rattei, Thomas; Tischler, Patrick; Spieck, Eva; Streit, Wolfgang; Stahl, David A.; Wagner, Michael; et al. (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. 
  5. ^ Researchers discover new producer of crucial vitamin

Further reading[edit]