Numerous ecological studies for myxobacteria have been conducted well, but their true diversity hidden in plain sight remains to be explored. To bridge this gap, we here implemented a comprehensive survey of diversity and distribution of myxobacteria by using 4997 publicly available 16S rRNA gene sequences (≥1200 bp) collected from several hundreds of sites across multiple countries and regions. In the study, the meta-16S rRNA gene phylogenetic reconstruction clearly revealed that these sequences were classified to 998 species, 445 genera, 58 families, and 20 suborders, highlighting a considerable taxonomic diversity of myxobacteria, the great majority of which belonged to new taxa. Most cultured myxobacteria including the well-described type strains were strongly inclined to locate on the shallow branches of the phylogenetic tree; on the contrary, the majority of uncultured myxobacteria the deep branches. The geographical analysis of sequences based on their environmental categories clearly demonstrated that myxobacteria showed a nearly cosmopolitan distribution, despite the presence of some habitat-specific taxa, especially at genus and species levels. Among all abundant suborders, members of Suborder\_4, Suborder\_15, and Suborder_17 were more widely distributed in marine environments, the remaining suborders preferred to reside in terrestrial ecosystems, particularly in soils, indicating a potential selectivity of geographical distribution. In conclusion, this study profiles a clear framework of diversity and distribution of the cosmopolitan myxobacteria and sheds light on the isolation of the uncultured myxobacteria.
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