The tree of life, with tangled roots | Science News

Love Science? Welcome Home.

Support Amazing Science Journalism.

Create the New Science Generation.


News

The tree of life, with tangled roots

By
8:44am, September 29, 2004

New data support the proposition that two ancient forms of life merged to create the first complex cell. Relatives of the two rudimentary organisms, called prokaryotes, survive as bacteria and related microbes. But they also at some point combined, producing eukaryotes, some scientists assert. The eukaryotic trunk of the tree of life sprouted branches leading to organisms ranging from yeasts to humans.

Several theories compete to explain how eukaryotes arose. The cells might have descended from a simpler organism or acquired their complexity by snatching genes from other microbes.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News