Mysterious DNA sequences, known as ‘Borgs,’ recovered from California mud

When Jill Banfield, a geomicrobiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, sifted through DNA in the mud of her backyard and discovered a strange linear chromosome that included genes from a variety of microbes, her Trekkie son proposed naming it after the sci-fi aliens. The new type of genetic material was a mystery. Whatever it is, it’s “pretty exciting,” says W. Ford Doolittle, an evolutionary biologist at Dalhousie University who was not involved with the work.

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