Thursday, November 23, 2023

Rediscovery of rare marine amoeba Rhabdamoeba marina

Figure 1: Rhabdamoeba marina

        A rare marine amoeba, Rhabdamoeba marina, has been rediscovered and successfully cultivated by researchers at the University of Tsukuba. This amoeba has been reported only twice in the last century and was first discovered in England in 1921. However, the original description has been questioned as it was brief and relied on preserved material for observation.
        The amoeboid cells were characterized by their near immobility. Under a limited prey supply, the amoeboid cells of R. marina can generate flagellated cells with two backward-extending flagella through a process called budding. Since only two cases have been documented, the taxonomic classification was unverified despite its distinct characteristics.
        Researchers performed an analysis of the amoeba’s genetic sequence using a culture strain established from seawater that was sourced from the coast of Japan. The comprehensive analysis revealed the phylogenetic position of the R. marina and proposed a new taxonomic classification. Researchers found that the amoeba did not align with the previously assigned taxonomic group and as a result, proposed the reclassification of R. marina into the class Chlorarachnea.
        For the first time, the gene sequence of this rare amoeba was unveiled and its position in the phylogenetic tree has been clarified. This rediscovery highlights the importance of environmental sample observation for rediscovering and understanding the genetic makeup of rarely encountered and scarce unicellular organisms like Rhabdamoeba marina. These studies are essential to understanding microbial diversity, refining our taxonomic classification, and gaining a better understanding of the diversity of life

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