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Lokiarchaeota: Discover ‘Missing Link’

May 7, 2015 by Sci-News.com « PREVIOUS

Published in A team of biologists, co-led by Dr Lionel Guy and Dr Thijs J. G. Ettema from Biology Uppsala University in Sweden, has discovered a new group of Tagged as that represents an intermediate form in-between the simple cells of and the complex types of . Bacteria Lokiarchaeota


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Rorqual Whales This false-color image shows a cell of thermophilic methanogenic archaea. Image credit: University of Have Unique California Museum of Paleontology. Stretchy Nerves In 1977, biochemist Dr and his colleagues at the University of Illinois described an entirely new group of , the Archaea (originally found in extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents and terrestrial hot springs).

The were studying relationships among the using DNA

Extinction of sequences, and found that Archaea have distinct molecular characteristics World’s Largest separating them from bacteria as well as from eukaryotes. They proposed that May Lead to Empty can be divided into three domains: Eukaryota, Eubacteria, and Landscapes, Say Archaebacteria. Researchers Despite that archaeal cells were simple and small like bacteria, scientists found that Archaea were more closely related to organisms with complex cell types, a group collectively known as ‘eukaryotes.’ This observation has puzzled

Sichuan Bush biologists for . Warbler: New Bird Dr Guy, Dr Ettema and their colleagues from the University of Bergen, the Discovered in China University of Vienna, and Uppsala University, have described a new group of Archaea, named Lokiarchaeota, and identified it as a missing link in the origin of eukaryotes.

The name Lokiarchaeota is derived from the hostile environment close to New Study Shows How where it was found, Loki’s Castle, a system located on the Bombardier Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Greenland and Norway at a depth of 2,352 meters. Beetles Produce Defensive Spray “The puzzle of the origin of the eukaryotic cell is extremely complicated, as many pieces are still missing. We hoped that Lokiarchaeota would reveal a few more pieces of the puzzle, but when we obtained the first results, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The data simply looked spectacular,” Dr Ettema explained. Bats Have Unique Touch Sensors on Their “Lokiarchaeota formed a well-supported group with the eukaryotes in our Wings, New analyses,” Dr Guy added. Study Finds The scientists found that Lokiarchaeota shares many with eukaryotes suggesting that cellular complexity emerged in an early stage in the of eukaryotes.

Two New Species of “Our results provide strong support for hypotheses in which the eukaryotic Iguanid Lizards evolved from a bona fide archaeon, and demonstrate that many Discovered in Chile components that underpin eukaryote-specific features were already present in that ancestor,” the biologists said.

“This provided the host with a rich genomic ‘starter-kit’ to support the increase in the cellular and genomic complexity that is characteristic of eukaryotes.”

The details of the discovery are published in the journal . _____

Anja Spang et al. Complex archaea that bridge the gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Nature, published online May 06, 2015; doi: 10.1038/nature14447 The Choice Is Yours Elsevier's Top Sciences Journals Offer Open Access Options