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Claim: The tree of life may have only two major branches


The slingshot of life? According to this version of the tale, the eukaryotes are descended from the Asgard archaea:

So now a group of evolutionary biologists has undertaken a larger analysis, including over 3,000 gene families from 125 species analyzed using three different methods. Unlike the former study, this one incorporated many uncultivated microbes.

Regardless of which genomic data is used and the method by which it’s sliced and diced, the team concluded that a two-domain tree seems to fit it better. Eukaryotes seem to have arisen from the Asgard archaea branch, which has genes that were considered uniquely eukaryotic, not because they were contaminated by eukaryotic samples, but because they are the ancestral versions of the ones eukaryotes now have.

Diana Gitig, “The tree of life may have only two major branches once again” at ArsTechnica

It’s a good thing there is a change of cast now and then. Don’t make it holy writ.

This vid is interesting but the theory is that there is one single common ancestral cell that is the origin of all life. Is that plausible?

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.

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@Bob O'H
Essentially, we’re archaea who tamed a eubacterium to provide us with energy.
We're also a lot of viral genetic material. A chimera. Truthfreedom
“ we’re archaea who tamed a eubacterium to provide us with energy.” Tamed, adapted, co-adapted, mutated, naturally selected. So easy to theorise, so difficult to find evidence. The bugbear of all historical sciences. Belfast
Ed - no. The prokaryotes aren't a single clade: the eubacteria and archaea are different clades, and eukaryotes branch off from the archaea. Looking at the paper, what their evidence suggests is that eukaryotes are slap bang in the middle of the archaea clade. Essentially, we're archaea who tamed a eubacterium to provide us with energy. Bob O'H
There isn't any tree of life. There isn't any evidence that prokaryotes can evolve into something other than prokaryotes. So that "branch" is a tree unto itself- maybe two trees. So unless imagination is an evolutionary mechanism, the evidence says there are many trees of life. ET
Excluding viruses, it could be argued that there are only prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Ed George

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