“Extreme Treasures” — The Discovery Files

Archaea, a mysterious family of single-celled organisms that thrive in extreme environments like boiling hydrothermal pools and smoking deep sea vents, may turn out to be a rich and untapped source of antibacterial drugs. The realization that Archaea could be a source of novel pharmaceuticals emerges from a study of widespread horizontal gene transfer between different species conducted by a team of scientists from Vanderbilt University and Portland State University in Oregon.