For a very long time scientists have been trying to put together the timeline of events that eventually created the complex cells we see today. This challenge has come from there simply being a lack of information to connect the dots. That being said though, a group of researchers and scientists have completely changed that perception – by changing the reality of complex cells. This breakthrough came compliments of a fascinating microbe that was found at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
The cellular breakdown is quite simple. This particular microbe has most of the qualities of a eukaryote, despite the fact that it is not a eukaryote by definition. That’s interesting because it does exactly what we talked about before in bridging the gap between what is known, and what is unknown. Furthermore, it connects the facts with what has been largely unknown for years now, as studies of this nature have been heating up to deliver better information. The study was led by a team from Uppsala University in Sweden and was published in the journal Nature.
For humans this study has serious impacts because it shows exactly how simple microbes transitioned and evolved into the advanced cells that are found in humans, animals, and much more. The team that led the study pointed out that, “The puzzle of the origin of the eukaryotic cell is extremely complicated, as many pieces are still missing. We hoped that Loki would reveal a few more pieces of the puzzle, but when we obtained the first results, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The data simply looked spectacular.”
As the team studied the Loki, they found that essentially it is a type of microbe that is stuck right between complex cellular organism and simple organism. It’s an interesting connection that hasn’t ever been seen before in nature – and after seeing this – it connects a lot and gives scientists a place to start. Anja Spang of the host university pointed out that, “In addition, we found that Loki shares many genes uniquely with eukaryotes, suggesting that cellular complexity emerged in an early stage in the evolution of eukaryotes.”
While this information is really telling, it isn’t anything more than a starting point. At this point it puts scientists in a place where they can push the information forward and push the overall field further in understanding how we came to be. That is the biggest potential gain right now. Eventually this will lead to a better understanding about human life, and where it might have begun.