Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Meet Plants' and Algae's Common Ancestor

21.02.2012
Primitive organisms not always so simple, researcher says.

A University of Arkansas biologist has created a sketch of what the first common ancestor of plants and algae may have looked like. The image appears as part of a “Perspective” article in the Feb. 17 issue of Science. The image is based on a research paper that is also published in this issue of Science.

Fred Spiegel, professor of biological sciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, suggests what microscopic parts would have been present in this common ancestor based on findings by Dana Price of Rutgers University and his colleagues, who examined the genome of a freshwater microscopic algae and determined that it showed that algae and plants are derived from one common ancestor. This ancestor formed from a merger between some protozoan-like host and cyanobacterium, a kind of bacteria that use photosynthesis to make energy, that “moved in” and became the chloroplast of this first alga. Price and his colleagues show that today’s algae and plants have to be descended from this first alga, but they give no idea what it looked like.

“The work that Price and his group did nailed down what the relationships are” between this organism, the algae and plants, and all other eukaryotes, organisms that have a true nucleus in their cells, Spiegel said. “Once you know that, you can compare the structure of cells and characteristics you see in algae and plants with other eukaryotes and get a reasonable idea of what the original critter must have looked like.”

For many years, scientists have speculated that the original ancestor of plants and algae must have originated from a protozoan-like organism and cyanobacteria. They theorized that at some point in the distant past the cyanobacteria became part of the other organism and created the first alga, which in turn created the opportunity for the growth into the biodiversity found in plants that we see today.

However, other scientists argued that the diversity and complexity of plants and algae suggest multiple events where different organisms merged. They pointed out that some members of the plant kingdom have simple structures and therefore must be more primitive than others.

Price and his colleagues’ studied the genome of an obscure alga called Cyanophora. Their results strongly suggest that the first alga arose about a billion to a billion and a half years ago. This alga became the ancestor to the group of algae containing Cyanophora, plus the group of algae that includes the red seaweeds, plus the group that includes the green algae and the land plants. Together, these organisms form the super group called Plantae.

Based on this research, Spiegel has put forth a hypothetical snapshot of what the common ancestor of Plantae, the “first alga,” might have looked like.

“The common ancestor of Plantae was an organism with very complex cells and a complex life cycle,” Spiegel said. While some members of the super group Plantae may have less complex cells and life cycles, this does not mean they pre-date the common ancestor. “They’re simpler because they lost parts, not because they originated that way.”

Steve Voorhies
Manager of media relations
University Relations
University of Arkansas
575-3583
871-3474(cell)

Steve Voorhies | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>