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Mitochondria share an ancestor with SAR11, a globally significant marine microbe

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A recent study by researchers at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and the Oregon State University provides strong evidence that mitochondria share a common evolutionary ancestor with a lineage of marine bacteria known as SAR11, arguably the most abundant group of microorganisms on Earth.

Billions of years ago, an astounding evolutionary event occurred: certain bacteria became obliged to live inside other cells, thus starting a chain of events that resulted in what is now the mitochondria, an organelle found in all eukaryotic cells.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Hawaii ā€“ Manoa (UHM) and the Oregon State University (OSU) provides strong evidence that mitochondria share a common evolutionary ancestor with a lineage of marine bacteria known as SAR11, arguably the most abundant group of microorganisms on Earth.

"This is a very exciting discovery," says Michael Rappe, Associate Researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at UHM. "The results that we present make sense in a lot of ways: the physiology of SAR11 makes them more apt to be dependent on other organisms, and based on the contemporary abundance of SAR11 in the global ocean, the ancestral lineage may have also been abundant in the ancient ocean, increasing encounters between this bacterial lineage with the host of the original symbiosis event."

Click "source" for entire article.

"Phylogenomic evidence for a common ancestor of mitochondria and the SAR11 clade" (http://www.nature.com/srep/2011/110614/srep00013/full/srep00013.html)
 
 

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