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Were the original eubacteria thermophiles?

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Department of Genetics and Development, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.
U IL, Urbana


Thermotoga maritima is one of the more unusual eubacteria: It is highly thermophilic, growing at temperatures higher than any other eubacterium; its cell wall appears to have a unique structure and its lipids a unique composition; and the organism is surrounded by a loose-fitting sheath of unknown function. Its phenotypic uniqueness is matched by its phylogenetic position; Thermotoga maritima represents the deepest known branching in the eubacterial line of descent, as measured by ribosomal RNA sequence comparisons. T. maritima also represents the most slowly evolving of eubacterial lineages. The fact that the two deepest branchings in the eubacterial line of descent (the other, the green non-sulfur bacteria and relatives, i.e. Chloroflexus, Thermomicrobium, etc.) are both basically thermophilic and slowly evolving, strongly suggests that all eubacteria have ultimately arisen from a thermophilic ancestor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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