Navigation Links
NASA Research Reveals Major Insight Into Evolution of Life on Earth

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Humans might not be walking on Earth today if not for the ancient fusing of two microscopic, single-celled organisms called prokaryotes, NASA-funded research has found.


By comparing proteins present in more than 3000 different prokaryotes -- a type of single-celled organism without a nucleus -- molecular biologist James A. Lake from the University of California at Los Angeles' Center for Astrobiology showed that two major classes of relatively simple microbes fused together more than 2.5 billion years ago. Lake's research reveals a new pathway for the evolution of life on Earth. These insights are published in the Aug. 20 online edition of the journal Nature.

This endosymbiosis, or merging of two cells, enabled the evolution of a highly stable and successful organism with the capacity to use energy from sunlight via photosynthesis. Further evolution led to photosynthetic organisms producing oxygen as a byproduct. The resulting oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere profoundly affected the evolution of life, leading to more complex organisms that consumed oxygen, which were the ancestors of modern oxygen-breathing creatures including humans.

"Higher life would not have happened without this event," Lake said. "These are very important organisms. At the time these two early prokaryotes were evolving, there was no oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. Humans could not live. No oxygen-breathing organisms could live."

The genetic machinery and structural organization of these two organisms merged to produce a new class of prokaryotes, called double membrane prokaryotes. As they evolved, members of this double membrane class, called cyanobacteria, became the primary oxygen-producers on the planet, generating enough oxygen to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere and set the stage for the evolution of more complex organisms such as animals and plants.

"This work is a major advance in our understanding of how a group of organisms came to be that learned to harness the sun and then effected the greatest environmental change Earth has ever seen, in this case with beneficial results," said Carl Pilcher, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., which co-funded the study with the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va.

Founded in 1998, the NASA Astrobiology Institute is a partnership between NASA, 14 U.S. teams and six international consortia. The institute's goals are to promote, conduct, and lead interdisciplinary astrobiology research; train a new generation of astrobiology researchers; and share the excitement of astrobiology with learners of all ages.

The institute is part of NASA's Astrobiology Program in Washington. The program supports research into the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and the potential for life elsewhere.

For more information about the NASA's Astrobiology Program and the institute, visit:

Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) and Proteolix Initiate Phase 2 Clinical Trial Investigating Carfilzomib for the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
2. Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) Partners with Novartis to Advance Phase II Study of Deacetylase Inhibitor
3. Lexicon to Present Research Results at American Chemical Society Meeting Regarding Target of LX1031 Drug Candidate
4. Researchers at Cleveland Clinic Identify Site of Dysfunction in HDL, Carrier of Good Cholesterol
5. Video: New Research Discovers Independent Brain Networks Control Human Walking
6. Quark Pharmaceuticals Extends Research Agreement with State University of New York for Proprietary siRNA Compounds for Acute Hearing Loss
7. Cleveland Clinic Researchers Identify Mechanism Behind Platelet Function and Potentially Fatal Blood Clot Formation
8. HistoRx and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Initiate Brain Tumor Biomarker Research Partnership
9. Diabetes Research Institute Invention Promotes Growth of Stem Cells into Insulin-Producing Cells
10. Researchers Identify Virus Possibly Responsible for Declining Honeybee Population Using 454 Sequencing Technology from Roche
11. Peregrine Researchers Report Data Showing Bavituximabs Potential to Shrink Human Prostate Tumors in Model of Relapsed Disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay Area ... Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness ... and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, ... today announced the five finalists of Lyme ... disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... develops, markets and sells medical devices and wearable sleep ... a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management ... on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet ... agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: ... inhaled drugs, announced today that it was added to ... its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity ... an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer ... of our progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Aliso Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... that are fully customizable inside of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - ... with another unique style. Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry ... The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... recently awarded ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear ... a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment center ... Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This annual ... the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often refer ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Carolina (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... of a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The ... centuries. , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):