Beijing: Researchers said Monday they have discovered more than 7,000 new microbial species from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, enhancing our understanding of biodiversity in the world seas. The scientists at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) discovered the microbial species, including Acidobacteria — a natural medicinal phylum containing the CRISPR gene editing system found at sea for the first time. Over a span of eight years, the team developed biofilms with the water samples on different materials, eventually discovering the new biofilm-forming species and 10 new bacterial phyla. The finding, published in the journal Nature Communications, contradicts the existing belief that the world has only 35,000 marine microbial species and 80 bacterial phyla. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingIt enhances our knowledge in microbial biodiversity of the oceans, bringing hope for the development of new drugs, researchers said. Acidobacteria — one of the new marine phyla identified in this research only exist in terrestrial soils, and has been used for developing novel antibiotics and anti-tumour drugs due to its high level of biosynthetic gene clusters. This marine phylum not only shares functions of its terrestrial counterpart, but is also the first ocean species found to contain the CRISPR gene-editing system, researchers said.