Definitions of terms used in these webpages

Archaea - A group of microbes that look like bacteria, but are no more related to Bacteria than to Eukarya.

Bacteria - The group of microbes that, like archaea, do not have their DNA contained in a nucleus and do not have compartments inside their cells.

Eukarya - Also called eukaryotes. A group of organisms, some of which are microbes, that have cells with compartments (chloroplasts, mitochondria, for example) and with their DNA contained a compartment called a nucleus. Plants, animals, fungi and humans are eukaryotes as are the microbes yeast and algae.

horizontal gene transfer - The transfer of genes (made of DNA) between cells (usually belonging to unrelated groups). Genes encoding traits are usually transfered from ”parents” to their progeny and this is called vertical transmission. When traits are transferred to unrelated organisms by transfering DNA, this is called horizontal transfer or acquisition. This process largely happens among microbes, though there is evidence that it has happened in plants and animals.

thermophilic - heat-loving; Groups of microbes are said to be “moderate thermophiles” if they grow best at 45-55°C, “thermophiles” at 55-70°C, “extreme thermophiles at 70-90°C, and “hyperthermophiles” above 90°C.

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