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The Extremes of Life: Microbes and Their Diversity - Kyoto University



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Microbes are everywhere! Find out how diverse microbial life is, and what their genome sequences tell us.With this course you earn while you learn, you gain recognized qualifications, job specific skills and knowledge and this helps you stand out in the job market.

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Requirements: Basic knowledge of biology equivalent to the junior high school level


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What you'll learn on the course


Course programme

Life on our planet is diverse. While we can easily recognize this in our everyday surroundings, an even more diverse world of life can be seen when we look under a microscope. This is the world of microorganisms. Microorganisms are everywhere, and although some are notorious for their roles in human disease, many play important roles in sustaining our global environment. We will explore these and in particular, those that thrive in the most extreme environments on our planet, the extremophiles. In this course, we will discover how diverse life is on our planet and consider the basic principles that govern evolution. We will also learn how to classify organisms. One method is based on the different mechanisms that organisms utilize to conserve energy and obtain carbon. Another method is based on comparing sequences of common molecules present in different organisms. In the latter half of the course we will introduce the various extremophiles that have been not identified until now, and their basic characteristics. Finally, focusing on the thermophiles, we will study how proteins from thermophiles can maintain their structure and function at high temperatures.

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Haruyuki Atomi Professor at the Department of Synthetic Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University. Research studies are focused on the physiology of microorganisms.