We live in a world that is dominated by microbial life. Despite that this ‘unseen majority’ drives major biochemical cycles on our planet, the extent of the molecular and functional diversity of these prokaryotes and protists has been poorly mapped. One important reason for this is that only about 1% of all microbial species can be cultured under laboratory conditions. In the recent years, culture-independent methods, such as metagenomics and single cell genomics have been developed that allow for the genomic exploration of this so-called ‘microbial dark matter’. The ongoing research in the Ettema-lab aims to:
- Explore microbial diversity using novel cultivation-independent approaches, such as metagenomics and single cell genomics.
- Gain insight in the evolutionary relation between the Three Domains of Life, the Archaea, Bacteria and the Eukarya using various phylogenomic approaches.
- Reconstruct the origin and evolutionary history of the eukaryotic cell by comparative and phylogenetic analyses of prokaryotic and eukayotic genome content.