Three Domain System of Classification

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3 Domian System of Classification

The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and microbial life is thought to have first appeared between 3.8 and 3.9 billion years ago; in fact, 80% of Earth's history was exclusively microbial life. Microbial life is still the dominant life form on Earth. It has been estimated that the total number of microbial cells on Earth on the order of 2.5 X 1030 cells, making it the major fraction of biomass on the planet. Phylogeny refers to the evolutionary relationships between organisms. The Three Domain System, proposed by Woese and others, is an evolutionary model of phylogeny based on differences in the sequences of nucleotides in the cell's ribosomal RNAs (rRNA), as well as the cell's membrane lipid structure and its sensitivity to antibiotics. Comparing rRNA structure is especially useful. Because rRNA molecules throughout nature carry out the same function, their structure changes very little over time. Therefore similarities and dissimilarities in rRNA nucleotide sequences are a good indication of how related or unrelated different cells and organisms are. There are various hypotheses as to the origin of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Because all cells are similar in nature, it is generally thought that all cells came from a common ancestor cell termed the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). These LUCAs eventually evolved into three different cell types, each representing a domain. The three domains are the Archaea, theBacteria, and the Eukarya. More recently various fusion hypotheses have begun to dominate the literature. One proposes that the diploid or 2N nature of the eukaryotic genome occurred after the fusion of two haploid or 1N prokaryotic cells. Others propose that the domains Archaea and Eukarya emerged from a common archaeal-eukaryotic ancestor that itself emerged from a member of the domain Bacteria. Some of the evidence behind this hypothesis is based on a "superphylum" of bacteria called PVC, members of which...
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