And it is a free-living protist, not a parasite:
“I was astonished,” says Dayana Salas-Leiva at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. The microbe, Carpediemonas membranifera, must have a mechanism for copying its DNA that is unknown to science.Michael Marshall, “Microbe somehow survives without key proteins for replicating its DNA” at New Scientist
It’s a protist? “Protists are a group of loosely connected, mostly unicellular eukaryotic organisms that are not plants, animals or fungi. There is no single feature such as evolutionary history or morphology common to all these organisms and they are unofficially placed under a separate kingdom called Protista.” In short, just the sort of life form that might be doing something really different.
Because nature is full of intelligence, there are probably many alternative programs out there. It all didn’t just somehow happen randomly once.
The paper is open access.