One Step Further in Discovering the Origin of Eukaryotic Cells

A team of researchers discovered a possible association between the ancient group of microorganisms similar to bacteria but radically different in molecular organization and the evolution of eukaryotes.

Together with several institutions in Japan, the team has been studying the Prometheoarchaeum syntrophicum by culturing samples of it. Their work can be found in the journal Nature.

Primitive archaea

The question is: How did the primitive similar to bacteria organisms evolved into eukaryotes? Is one of the great mysteries scientists have been trying to discover. Life is presumed to have appeared on Earth about four billion years ago in the form of bacteria-like organisms identical to modern archaea.

The ancient group of organisms was a very simplistic type of cell without the presence of a nucleus, for example. According to the experts, the primitive archaea evolved about two billion years ago. Eukaryotes include all living organisms. They have complex cell structures, similar to animals and plants.

The evolution of primitive archaea theory

One of the favored theory implies that another swallowed some specific types of archaea. The ingested archaea are believed to have evolved into a group of organelles. A team of scientists from Japan has theorized a kind of archaea cultured in their laboratory.

Culturing archaea process

The team has retrieved Asgard archaea, from the ocean floor near Japan and cultured the lines that grew in unique methane-infused test chambers. They sectioned them into individual groups after three years due to their slow growth.

Similar organism to primitive archaea

The features of Candidatus Prometheoarchaeum syntrophicum resembles the primitive archaea that after developed into eukaryotic cells and therefore, the scientists made the decision to focus on it.

The organisms grew to approximately 550 mm in diameter and degraded amino acids through syntrophy after a few years of studying it. The microbes had a branching protrusions too, which made researchers believe that a bacterium became entangled in the branching protrusions and developed into an organelle and afterward into eukaryotes.

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