The bacterial phylum Acidobacteria has a widespread distribution and is one of the most common and diverse phyla in soil habitats. However, members of this phylum have often been recalcitrant to cultivation methods, hampering the study of this presumably important bacterial group. In this study, we used a cultivationindependent metagenomic approach to recover genomic information from soilborne members of this phylum. A soil metagenomic fosmid library was screened by PCR targeting acidobacterial 16S rRNA genes, facilitating the recovery of 17 positive clones. Recovered inserts appeared to originate from a range of Acidobacteria subdivisions, with dominance of subdivision 6 (10 clones). Upon full-length insert sequencing, gene annotation identified a total of 350 open reading frames (ORFs), representing a broad range of functions. Remarkably, six inserts from subdivision 6 contained a region of gene synteny, containing genes involved in purine de novo biosynthesis and encoding tRNA synthetase and conserved hypothetical proteins. Similar genomic regions had previously been observed in several environmental clones recovered from soil and marine sediments, facilitating comparisons with respect to gene organization and evolution. Comparative analyses revealed a general dichotomy between marine and terrestrial genes in both phylogeny and G+C content. Although the significance of this homologous gene cluster across subdivision 6 members is not known, it appears to be a common feature within a large percentage of all acidobacterial genomic fragments recovered from both of these environments. © 2010, American Society for Microbiology.