Why are nematodes so successful extremophiles?

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Extreme environments constitute the largest habitat on earth, but our understanding of life in such environments is rudimentary. The hostility of extreme environments such as the deep sea, earth’s crust, and toxic lakes limits the sampling, culturing, and studying of extremophiles, the organisms that live in these habitats. Thus, in terms of ecological research, extreme environments are the earth’s final frontier. A growing body of data suggests that nematodes are the most common animal taxon in different types of extreme settings such as the deep-subsurface and sediments in the deep sea. Notably, the reasons for the abundance of nematodes in extreme habitats remain mostly unknown. I propose that a unique combination of several characteristics of nematodes may explain, additively or synergistically, their successful adaptation to extreme habitats. Novel functional genetic and genomic approaches are expected to reveal molecular mechanisms of adaptation of nematodes to the many fascinating extreme environments on earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-26
Number of pages3
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • adaptations
  • Extreme environments
  • nematodes
  • oxygen
  • sterols
  • stress responses
  • suspended animation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences

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