Navigation Links
Algae held captive and genes stolen in crime of evolution
Date:11/28/2012

Microscopic animals held algae captive and stole their genes for energy production, thereby evolving into a new and more powerful species many millions of years ago reveals a new study published today in the journal Nature.

The results reveal a 'missing link' in evolution because the tiny animal thieves (protozoa) couldn't completely hide all evidence of the captive algae, and have been effectively frozen in time and caught in the act by genetic sequencing.

The protozoa captured genes for photosynthesis- the process of harnessing light to produce energy which is used by all plants and algae on earth - so the study also provides insight into the origin and repurposing of these genes and may be useful in algae biofuel production.

The work was conducted by an international team of researchers led by Dalhousie University in Canada and included Professor Geoff McFadden from the University of Melbourne.

Professor McFadden from the School of Botany said that scientists had long suspected that quantum leaps of evolution occurred by one organism cannibalizing another, but we did not have much hard evidence.

But when they looked at two specific algae- Guillardia theta and Bigelowiella natans- the team realized the evolution was not quite complete. They could see that their cells had two nuclei (like the control centre of the cell that contains DNA). This is unusual because plant and animal cells only have one, so the genes were sequenced to find out more.

"We think that the genes for photosynthesis originally evolved only once about three billion years ago. So all plants, algae and blue green bacteria can produce their own energy from light because they have acquired these genes for photosynthesis," Professor McFadden said.

Like prisoners in Alcatraz, the captive algae appear to have been nurtured by their enslavers and the precious sugars produced from photosynthesis became a vital part of the protozoan slave keeper's diet. The captives lived inside the protozoan cell and, under the right conditions, the pair gradually became unified as a single organism- a process called endosymbiosis, literally living inside each other.

"We discovered that the captors were initially able to keep many separate clones of their slaves and occasionally pillage one or two for most of the essential genes. However, at some point in time, the number of captives reduced inside each gaoler to just one individual.

"So if they broke into the alga's cell to steal the last essential genes, they would destroy it in the process and would not then be able to use the genes to run photosynthesis. So the two cells, one captive and one captor, had apparently reached an evolutionary stand-off situation where both are dependent on each other to survive."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nerissa Hannink
nhannink@unimelb.edu.au
61-430-588-055
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
2. Algae biofuels: the wave of the future
3. Carbon is key for getting algae to pump out more oil
4. A nanoscopic look at the estuarys green algae
5. Viruses linked to algae that control coral health
6. Ecologist: Genetically engineered algae for biofuel pose potential risks that should be studied
7. U OF A expert pinpoints nutrient behind fresh water algae blooms
8. Oil from algae closer to reality through studies by unique collaboration of scientists
9. The slippery slope to slime: Overgrown algae causing coral reef declines
10. DNA analysis aids in classifying single-celled algae
11. Algae can draw energy from other plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Algae held captive and genes stolen in crime of evolution
(Date:1/18/2017)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Jan. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... eClinical technology company that supports the entire spectrum ... 2016 has been another record-breaking year for the ... and market interest in MedNet,s eClinical products and ... to the tremendous marketplace success of ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... 2017  New research undertaken by Fit Small Business ... 1,000 participants were simply asked which office technology had they ... consider standard issue.  Insights on what will be ... from futurists and industry leaders including Penelope Trunk , ... Some of these findings included; ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... , Jan. 11, 2017  Michael Johnson, co-founder of Visikol Inc. ... Group, Inc., has been named to the elite "Forbes 30 Under ... one of 600 people in 20 fields nationwide to be recognized ... the 15,000 applicants were selected. ... He is currently a PhD candidate at Rutgers University. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... delivery of product vigilance software to leading biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and ... is a fully 21 CFR Part 11-compliant email client designed to provide product ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. (AIM: ABTU; NASDAQ: AQB), ... and a majority-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: ... listing of its common shares on the NASDAQ Stock ... "AquaBounty,s listing on NASDAQ represents an important milestone ... the U.S. markets as we advance plans for commercial ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , ... January 19, 2017 , ... FireflySci Inc. is ... rate. The tremendous growth is accounted to two main factors. The first ... the expanding network of vendors supplying FireflySci products all around the world. , 2016 ...
(Date:1/19/2017)...  Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: NWBO) ("NW Bio"), a ... operable and inoperable solid tumor cancers, announced today that ... NW Bio, will present at the Phacilitate Immunotherapy World ... Regency Hotel in Miami, Florida . ... "New Therapeutic Approaches – Expanding the Reach of Cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: