Life on Earth began at least 3.5 billion years ago, but we had no definite evidence on how the process started. Origin-of-life researchers, over the years, are struggling to discover how life began on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully carried out a new study revealing an elusive archaea species that is similar to the ancestor that produced the first sophisticated cells, called eukaryotes.
Earth had only two kinds of microbial kingdoms during the first 2 billion years, called bacteria and archaea. The single-celled microorganisms created several varieties of species, but they were not that thrilling judged by the standard of the modern age. According to theory, then a rogue archaeon gobbled up a bacterium, creating a new type of cell that shaped the foundation of all complicated existence on Earth, from plants to humans.
The discovery has been defined as "huge" progress that sheds new light on this evolutionary stage. Nick Lane, professor of evolutionary biochemistry at UCL, described the work as "magnificent", while other two experts in this field marked it a "huge breakthrough for microbiology."
Like bacteria, archaea continue to thrive on Earth today. Despite the significant role they would have played in creating a complicated life, there was quite less research on them. It took 12 years for the Japanese team, behind the latest breakthrough, overcoming a sequence of difficulties alongside.
“Maximum organisms which have been cultured within the lab reproduce hastily, can reside in huge numbers, and develop by means of themselves,” stated Masaru Nobu, of the Nationwide Institute of Complicated Business Science and Generation (AIST), Tsukuba, Japan.
“The organism we remoted reproduces 1,000 instances slower than E. coli, best lives in small numbers, and will depend on symbiotic companions to develop.”
Nobu and his team experimented in the lab, placing smaller samples in glass tubes. The researchers observed it patiently for another year by feeding them with a mix of nutrients, including powdered baby milk. Finally, it showed signs of life and started to replicate and divide.
During their study, they made another fortuitous discovery. The sequenced microbial DNA extracted from the mud from a hydrothermal vent off the coast of Greenland. The Japanese team called it the Asgardian Archaea.
According to the scientists, the spaghetti-like recently revealed Asgard might have engulfed a passing bacteria and formed a symbiotic relationship with it. Following several evolutionary steps, the two organisms could have become one, originating more complex cell type - a primitive eukaryote.