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J Mol Evol. 1978 Aug 2;11(3):245-51.



Experimental work published elsewhere has shown that the Archaebacteria encompass several distinct subgroups including methanogens, extreme halophiles, and various thermoacidophiles. The common characteristics of Archaebacteria known to date are these: (1) the presence of characteristic tRNAs and ribosomal RNAs; (2) the absence of peptidoglycan cell walls, with in many cases, replacement by a largely proteinaceous coat; (3) the occurrence of ether linked lipids built from phytanyl chains and (4) in all cases known so far, their occurrence only in unusual habitats. These organisms contain a number of 'eucaryotic features' in addition to their many bacterial attributes. This is interpreted as a strong indication that the Archaebacteria, while not actually eucaryotic, do indeed represents a third separate, line of descent as originally proposed.

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