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A calibrated chronology of biochemistry reveals a stem line of descent responsible for planetary biodiversity

By Gustavo eCaetano-Anollés, Jay E Mittenthal, Derek eCaetano-Anollés and Kyung Mo eKim


Time-calibrated phylogenomic trees of protein domain structure produce powerful chronologies describing the evolution of biochemistry and life. These timetrees are built from a genomic census of millions of encoded proteins using models of nested accumulation of molecules in evolving proteomes. Here we show that a primordial stem line of descent, a propagating series of pluripotent cellular entities, populates the deeper branches of the timetrees. The stem line produced for the first time cellular grades ~2.9 billion years (Gy)-ago, which slowly turned into lineages of superkingdom Archaea. Prompted by the rise of planetary oxygen and aerobic metabolism, the stem line also produced bacterial and eukaryal lineages. Superkingdom-specific domain repertoires emerged ~2.1 Gy-ago delimiting fully diversified Bacteria. Repertoires specific to Eukarya and Archaea appeared 300 millions years later. Results reconcile reductive evolutionary processes leading to the early emergence of Archaea to superkingdom-specific innovations compatible with a tree of life rooted in Bacteria

Topics: Structure, phylogenetic analysis, protein evolution, molecular clock, protein folds, Genetics, QH426-470
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00306
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