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Green Alga Found to Prey on Bacteria, Bolstering Endosymbiotic Theory

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A green alga with throat- and stomach-like structures can swallow and digest bacteria when deprived of light, further bolstering Lynn Margulis’s widely accepted idea that the origin of the plant-powering chloroplast was a fortuitous bout of indigestion.

Termed “Endosymbiotic Theory“, the idea is that early nucleated cells called eukaryotes ate bacteria that managed to escape digestion but also couldn’t escape their captors. Instead, they partnered with them. Today’s mitochondria — eukaryotic cellular engines — and chloroplasts — the light-harvesting machinery that turns sunlight into food for photosynthetic plants — are believed to be the products of two early such events.
 
 

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