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November 4, 2016
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February 6, 2003
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March 18, 1993
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Approved For Release 2003/04/18 :CIA-RDP96-007898003900560002-7 Naked eye able to see single-celled giant: ;?.~ g ~ ~re ~l,'the ea~-a~g~ ~Iyphen-sized creature found to be biggest germ 3y Natalie Angier Jew York 1Ymes News Service Flouting the scientific canon that eth of an inch in length and possess- ~ll b$$ are microsco is re- ing a volume a million times that of ?earcfi~ave dlsc~ ? ~~'~n the common E. cola microbe, the ~~~~1 it can-`be seen w e newly discovered bacterium seems to ____.__ _ defy laws of biology that limit how ~l m _. a we s of an Aus- an s , !s about the size of a hen in a newspaper, making it ,y far the largest bacterium ever de- ected. in measuring more than one-fifti- Appr big a simple bacterial cell can grow. So outsized Is the creature that researchers may soon be able to use !t to begin exploring the'Intimate de- tails of bacterial innards, a task im- possible with the tinier species of mi- crobes. a bacterium. The report of the gia~ "It's so huge that we could stick .:bacteriumi.called Epulopiscium fist electrodes into it," said Esther R. An-. . elsoni, appears today in the Brltis gert of Indiana University in Bloom- :. Journal Na#ure. ington. "T'here's a world of cell physi- "I think it's incredibly excltir ology that could be done with this ~.. and it's ad extremely convincing ~ thing." per,"said Dr. James R. Lupski ~ The researcher, who is finishing Baylor College of Medicine in Hou; her doctorate in the laboratory of Dr: ton, who has long studied bacterl~ Norman Pace, performed the;experl- genetics. '"The old way of defining ments that demonstrated the. bacte- bacterium was to look under a m rial nature of the beast. She showed that despite ifs ex- See BACTERIA, 15A, Col. Hyphen-sized blob found to be world's biggest germ Naked eye able to see creature BACTERIA, from 1 A croscope, see what size it was and whether it stained one way or anoth- er. Now we're redefining life forms based on what kind of DNA they have." Commanding though the bacter!- um is,, it may not be the world's larg- est. Realizing that bacteria have the ability to grow beyond boundaries previously set for them, scientists may well find other examples of sin- gle-celled beings with macroscopic aspirations. "This type of study points to how little we know about microbial diver- sity," Ms. Angert said. "Here's this huge organism that seems to be a significant part of a fish's intestines, and it's Just recently been discov- ered. Who can say what else is out there waiting to be found?" Scientists have long believed that them, must rely on slow diffusion to wrest what they need from their sur- roundings. So they must remain very tiny to allow essential molecules to drift from one part of the cell to an- other. By comparison, the cells of higher organisms, such as yeast, algae, in- sects and humans, are eukaryotes and have small internal structures to ferry molecules about. Pulverizing the genetic material from the bacteria, the researchers multiplied the DNA into mlWons of copies through the use of a technique called polymerase chain reaction. They next compared the genes with those from many other known prokaryotes and eukaryotes and demonstrated that E. fishelsoni is a true bacterium. Indeed. when the organism was discovered in 1985 by Israel! re- searchers who found it in the intes- tinal tract of common brown aur- geonfish living in the Red Sea, they thought it must be an alga, protozo- an or other eukaryote. More recently, Kendall D. Clem- es Cook University to ents of a m J k ~ c ~ ~te~i ;~~~,a ~v$t cellular organization for swift move- cau ht around the Great Barrier ment of nutrients and oxygen inside Ree~of Australia.