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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 6, 1996; 93(3): 1071–1076.

Archaeal-eubacterial mergers in the origin of Eukarya: phylogenetic classification of life.


A symbiosis-based phylogeny leads to a consistent, useful classification system for all life. "Kingdoms" and "Domains" are replaced by biological names for the most inclusive taxa: Prokarya (bacteria) and Eukarya (symbiosis-derived nucleated organisms). The earliest Eukarya, anaerobic mastigotes, hypothetically originated from permanent whole-cell fusion between members of Archaea (e.g., Thermoplasma-like organisms) and of Eubacteria (e.g., Spirochaeta-like organisms). Molecular biology, life-history, and fossil record evidence support the reunification of bacteria as Prokarya while subdividing Eukarya into uniquely defined subtaxa: Protoctista, Animalia, Fungi, and Plantae.

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