2018 preview: Thousands of mystery lifeforms to be revealed

Colin Monteath/Hedgehog House/Minden Pictures By Alice Klein Get ready for an explosion of life. Next year, thousands of previously unknown microbes will be revealed. Bacteria and other microbes are all around us, but we know only about 1 per cent of them. The rest are “microbial dark matter”. It is hard to study these mystery microbes because most can’t be grown in labs. They need the conditions of their natural habitat – be it a hydrothermal vent or our intestines – to survive. Metagenomics gets around this by taking a sample from a habitat,
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