Missing link between microbes and complex life
NHK -- Jan 16
Scientists from Japan say they have succeeded in cultivating microbes that have the characteristics of eukaryotic cells. The finding may shed light on one of the major mysteries about the evolution of life.

Eukaryotic cells have nuclei and other organs, such as mitochondria. The appearance of the eukaryotic cell gave rise to all multicellular organisms, including humans.

It's believed that eukaryotic cells appeared about 2 billion years ago, after a microbe absorbed another microbe. But the details are still unknown.

Scientists from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, and their colleagues succeeded in cultivating microbes that are primed to become eukaryotic cells.

They took the microbes from a sediment sample harvested from a seabed off the coast of Kii Peninsula in western Japan, deep in the ocean.

They say the microbes are primitive, but have more than 80 genes that are believed to belong only to eukaryotes. They learned that the microbes grow tentacles in time.

The group says they believe the microbes use those tentacles to envelop other microbes into their cells.

News source: NHK
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