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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2005 Dec;8(6):630-7. Epub 2005 Oct 20.

Archaebacteria (Archaea) and the origin of the eukaryotic nucleus.

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  • 1Institut für Botanik III, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


The eukaryotic nucleus is a unique structure. Because it lacks an obvious homologue or precursor among prokaryotes, ideas about its evolutionary origin are diverse. Current attempts to derive the nuclear membrane focus on invaginations of the plasma membrane in a prokaryote, endosymbiosis of an archaebacterium within a eubacterial host, or the origin of a genuinely new membrane system following the origin of mitochondria in an archaebacterial host. Recent reports point to ways in which different ideas regarding the origin of the nucleus might someday be discriminated.

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