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Protist. 2005 Dec;156(4):425-32. Epub 2005 Oct 12.

A plastid in the making: evidence for a second primary endosymbiosis.

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Botanisches Institut, Lehrstuhl I, Universität zu Köln, Gyrhofstrasse 15, 50931 Köln, Germany.


One of the major steps in the evolution of life was the origin of photosynthesis in nucleated cells underpinning the evolution of plants. It is well accepted that this evolutionary process was initiated when a photosynthetic bacterium (a cyanobacterium) was taken up by a colorless host cell, probably more than a billion years ago, and transformed into a photosynthetic organelle (a plastid) during a process known as primary endosymbiosis. Here, we use sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses of the prokaryotic rDNA operon to show that the thecate, filose amoeba Paulinella chromatophora Lauterborn obtained its photosynthetic organelles by a similar but more recent process, which involved a different cyanobacterium, indicating that the evolution of photosynthetic organelles from cyanobacteria was not a unique event, as is commonly believed, but may be an ongoing process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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