New ring of life points to mergers and acquisitions between cells
According to a new report, complex cells like those in the human body probably resulted from the fusion of genomes from an ancient bacterium and a simpler microbe, Archaea, best known for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures and hostile environments. The finding provides strong evidence that complex cells arose from combinations of simpler organisms in a symbiotic effort to survive. Jim Lake and Maria Rivera, at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), report their finding in the Sept. 9 issue of the journal Nature.
Scientists refer to both bacteria and Archaea as "prokaryotes"--a cell type that has no distinct nucleus to contain the genetic material, DNA, and few other specialized components. More-complex cells, known as "eukaryotes," contain a well-defined nucleus as well as compartmentalized "organelles" that carry out metabolism and transport molecules throughout the cell. Yeast cells are some of the most-primitive eukaryotes, whereas the highly specialized cells of human beings and other mammals are among the most complex.
Leslie Fink | EurekAlert!
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