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

al 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."


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

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