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Latest Archaea Stories

2011-10-05 19:05:58

Scientists call it LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, but they don't know much about this great-grandparent of all living things. Many believe LUCA was little more than a crude assemblage of molecular parts, a chemical soup out of which evolution gradually constructed more complex forms. Some scientists still debate whether it was even a cell. New evidence suggests that LUCA was a sophisticated organism after all, with a complex structure recognizable as a cell, researchers report....

2011-09-01 16:57:09

Understanding the flow and processing of carbon in the world's oceans, which cover 70 percent of Earth's surface, is central to understanding global climate cycles, with many questions remaining unanswered. Between 200 and 1,000 meters below the ocean surface exists a "twilight zone" where insufficient sunlight penetrates for microorganisms to perform photosynthesis. Despite this, it is known that microbes resident at these depths capture carbon dioxide that they then use to form cellular...

2011-07-26 12:09:19

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 "“ 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,...

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2011-07-06 07:53:34

Prospecting for new and unusual cellulose-digesting enzymes for biofuels production By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Bioprospectors from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found a microbe in a Nevada hot spring that happily eats plant material "“ cellulose "“ at temperatures near the boiling point of water. In fact, the microbe's cellulose-digesting enzyme, called a cellulase, is most active at a record 109 degrees Celsius...

2011-06-30 17:22:06

In order to realize the full potential of advanced biofuels that are derived from non-food sources of lignocellulosic biomass"”e.g., agricultural, forestry, and municipal waste, and crops such as poplar, switchgrass and miscanthus"”new technologies that can efficiently and cost-effectively break down this biomass into simple sugars are required. Existing biomass pretreatment technologies are typically derived from the pulp and paper industry and rely on dilute acids and bases to...

2011-04-25 16:22:58

Life on Earth would be impossible, without the metabolic capacities of the smallest of all living forms, the Bacteria and the Archaea. These microorganisms play a central role in global nutrient cycles, because they degrade organic matter to the smallest compounds, thus bringing them back to the atmosphere or recycling them for the synthesis of novel cells. "However, the great diversity and high numbers of Bacteria and Archaea in soils have only been detected relatively recently, with the...

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2011-04-04 23:50:00

A new study reveals that a group of ancient enzymes adapted to substantial changes in ocean temperature and acidity during the last four billion years, providing evidence that life on Early Earth evolved from a much hotter, more acidic environment to the cooler, less acidic global environment that exists today.The study found that a group of ancient enzymes known as thioredoxin were chemically stable at temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius (58 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than their modern...

2010-07-13 18:16:54

Team maps targets with hopes of blocking reproduction and rendering infection down for the count In any battle, sizing up one's opponent is a critical first step. For researchers fighting a bacterial infection, that means assessing every nook and cranny of the malicious microorganism and identifying which ones to attack. At the Center for Biological Research of the Spanish Research Council in Madrid, scientists are devising maneuvers they hope will take out bacteria at their molecular knees,...

2010-07-12 13:14:30

Lowly bacteria are turning out to be much more complex than previously thought. In the July, 2010 issue of the journal Molecular Microbiology, Loyola University Health System researchers describe an example of bacterial complexity, called "protein acetylation," which once was thought to be rare in bacteria. This discovery that protein acetylation is common in bacteria has led to the "dawning of a new age" in bacterial research, senior author Alan Wolfe, PhD. and colleagues wrote. Protein...

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2010-05-13 09:25:38

First large-scale formal quantitative test confirms Darwin's theory of universal common ancestry More than 150 years ago, Darwin proposed the theory of universal common ancestry (UCA), linking all forms of life by a shared genetic heritage from single-celled microorganisms to humans. Until now, the theory that makes ladybugs, oak trees, champagne yeast and humans distant relatives has remained beyond the scope of a formal test. This week, a Brandeis biochemist reports in Nature the results of...


Word of the Day
mallemaroking
  • Nautical, the visiting and carousing of sailors in the Greenland ships.
This word is apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words: 'mallemerok,' a foolish woman, and 'mallemok,' a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.