The elusive Asgard archaea are now thought to provide information on how eukaryotes developed. Which is interesting because archaea are supposed to be the most primitive cells and eukaryote are the most complex, leading to multicellular life forms. (Bacteria are in the middle.)
An elusive marine microbe, once known only by its DNA, has finally been cultured in the lab and could grant hints as to how eukaryotic life originated, researchers reported August 8 in a preprint posted to bioRxiv. The single-cell organism grows branching appendages and contains eukaryote-like genes, though it belongs to the domain Archaea…
With the cultured microbe in hand, the researchers sequenced its full genome and confirmed the existence of eukaryote-like genes. They also observed that the microbe usually grows in tandem with a second, methane-producing archaeon, with whom it fosters a symbiotic relationship. Prometheoarchaeum breaks down amino acids and supplies its partner with energy in the form of hydrogen, which might otherwise impede the Asgard’s growth, according to Science.
Images captured with an electron microscope revealed that Prometheoarchaeum develops lengthy appendages with multiple branches, according to Nature. The authors suggest the microbe may have used the tentacles to grab hold of oxygen-producing organisms. Nicoletta Lanese, “Elusive Asgard Archaea Finally Cultured in Lab” at The Scientist
Now, the Asgard archaea are thought to be 2 billion years old (The article in The Scientist says “2 million” as of this writing but that would seem to be a typo.)
Also, here’s a 2017 Abstract from Nature, noting that “Our results expand the known repertoire of ‘eukaryote-specific’ proteins in Archaea, indicating that the archaeal host cell already contained many key components that govern eukaryotic cellular complexity.” Thus they had that complexity back then. Not so good for Darwinism unless Darwinism is magic.
Abstract: The origin and cellular complexity of eukaryotes represent a major enigma in biology. Current data support scenarios in which an archaeal host cell and an alphaproteobacterial (mitochondrial) endosymbiont merged together, resulting in the first eukaryotic cell. The host cell is related to Lokiarchaeota, an archaeal phylum with many eukaryotic features. The emergence of the structural complexity that characterizes eukaryotic cells remains unclear. Here we describe the ‘Asgard’ superphylum, a group of uncultivated archaea that, as well as Lokiarchaeota, includes Thor-, Odin- and Heimdallarchaeota. Asgard archaea affiliate with eukaryotes in phylogenomic analyses, and their genomes are enriched for proteins formerly considered specific to eukaryotes. Notably, thorarchaeal genomes encode several homologues of eukaryotic membrane-trafficking machinery components, including Sec23/24 and TRAPP domains. Furthermore, we identify thorarchaeal proteins with similar features to eukaryotic coat proteins involved in vesicle biogenesis. Our results expand the known repertoire of ‘eukaryote-specific’ proteins in Archaea, indicating that the archaeal host cell already contained many key components that govern eukaryotic cellular complexity. – Asgard archaea illuminate the origin of eukaryotic cellular complexity Katarzyna Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka, Eva F. Caceres, Jimmy H. Saw, Disa Bäckström, Lina Juzokaite, Emmelien Vancaester, Kiley W. Seitz, Karthik Anantharaman, Piotr Starnawski, Kasper U. Kjeldsen, Matthew B. Stott, Takuro Nunoura, Jillian F. Banfield, Andreas Schramm, Brett J. Baker, Anja Spang & Thijs J. G. Ettema Nature volume 541, pages 353–358 (19 January 2017 More. (paywall)
See also: At Nature: Carl Woese’s Archaea Are “Shaking Up The Tree Of Life” The Archaea, a huge domain of life, were only identified in the 1970s, by Carl Woese., They, of course, were a problem for the Darwinian Tree of Life, which we were all taught in school as the Correct Understanding. And Woese wanted to overthrow Darwin. He might succeed posthumously.
Carl Woese on the “conceptual failings of the modern evolutionary synthesis”