Navigation Links
Earth's original ancestor was LUCA, not Adam nor Eve
Date:12/17/2008

This release is available in French.

Montreal, December 17, 2008 Here's another argument against intelligent design. An evolutionary geneticist from the Universit de Montral, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.

The study changes ideas of early life on Earth. "It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. A bit like one of those weird organisms living in the hot vents along the continental ridges deep in the oceans today (above 90 degrees Celsius)," says Nicolas Lartillot, the study's co-author and a bio-informatics professor at the Universit de Montral. "However, our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees."

The research team compared genetic information from modern organisms to characterize the ancient ancestor of all life on earth. "Our research is much like studying the etymology of modern languages so as to reveal fundamental things about their evolution," says professor Lartillot. "We identified common genetic traits between animals, plant, bacteria, and used them to create a tree of life with branches representing separate species. These all stemmed from the same trunk LUCA, the genetic makeup that we then further characterized."

Reconciling conflicting data

The group's findings are an important step towards reconciling conflicting ideas about LUCA. In particular, they are much more compatible with the theory of an early RNA world, where early life on Earth was composed of ribonucleic acid (RNA), rather than deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

However, RNA is particularly sensitive to heat and is unlikely to be stable in the hot temperatures of the early Earth. The data of Dr. Lartillot with his collaborators indicate that LUCA found a cooler micro-climate to develop, which helps resolve this paradox and shows that environmental micro domains played a critical role in the development of life on Earth.

From RNA to DNA: Proof of evolution

"It is only in a subsequent step that LUCA's descendants discovered the more thermostable DNA molecule, which they independently acquired (presumably from viruses), and used to replace the old and fragile RNA vehicle. This invention allowed them to move away from the small cool microclimate, evolved and diversify into a variety of sophisticated organisms that could tolerate heat," adds Dr. Lartillot.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Plague of kangaroos threatens one of Australias last remaining original native grasslands
2. Two from one: Pitt research maps out evolution of genders from hermaphroditic ancestors
3. New study shows shallow water corals evolved from deep sea ancestors
4. Did the gene for ADHD help our nomadic ancestors?
5. Genome of marine organism tells of humans unicellular ancestors
6. Blue-eyed humans have a single, common ancestor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... Research Future published a half cooked research report on Mobile Biometric ... Market is expected to grow over the CAGR of ~35% during ... ... Mobile Biometric Security and Service Market is increasing at a ... security from unwanted cyber threats. The increasing use of mobile device ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., the ... Counting technology, entered into a license and supply agreement ... science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo Scientific ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic bacterial ... States to aid in assessing the risk ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... According to a new market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market ... Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by ... 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016  Biotheranostics ... demonstrating the role of the Breast Cancer Index ... ER+ breast cancer are most at-risk for disease ... Data include results from three studies advancing the ... information related to tumor biology and inform decisions ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... DIEGO , Dec. 8, 2016  Renova™ ... for congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes, ... for a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector developed ... , M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. The company ... its paracrine gene therapy product pipeline. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016 Eurofins announces the appointment of ... of Eurofins Scientific Inc. (ESI). Mr. Murray will ... professional and entrepreneurial experience in leading international business teams. As the ... testing market to uphold Eurofins, status as the global leader in ... , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... cells — optogenetics — is key to exciting advances in the study and ... patterned light projected via free-space optics stimulates small, transparent organisms and excites neurons ...
Breaking Biology Technology: