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135 years ago Ferdinand Cohn, the founder of bacteriology, microscopically observed a conspicuous filamentous bacterium with a complex life cycle and described it as Crenothrix polyspora. This uncultured bacterium is infamous for mass developments in drinking water systems, but its phylogeny and physiology remained unknown. We show that C. polyspora is a gammaproteobacterium closely related to methanotrophs and capable of oxidizing methane. We discovered that C. polyspora encodes afatcat:gilbtma3rjds5hmforokx7sd5y