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Researchers discover new organism: Finding will help scientists understand the origins of multicellular life

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Researchers at the University of Arkansas have discovered and characterized a new organism that will help scientists understand the molecular mechanisms and ancestral genetic toolkit that enabled animals and fungi to evolve into diverse, multicellular life forms.

Jeffrey Silberman, a professor of biological sciences, isolated a new unicellular anaerobic eukaryote, and worked with former graduate student Matt Brown and others in the lab of Andrew Roger at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Cananda, on the genomics and description of this organism, which they named Pygsuia biforma. Brown, now a biology professor at Mississippi State University, is the lead author of the study, which was published August 28 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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