Every plant, animal, or other nucleus-containing cell has a variety of miniature organs that perform crucial functions for the cell. For example, organelles called chloroplasts photosynthesize are used to generate energy for the organism. Although some organelles have their own DNA and are similar to single-celled organisms, scientists have long believed that the evolution of complex life forms got its start when one cell engulfed another and the two learned to live in harmony eventually forming and belonging to one another.
Scientists reportedly recapitulated this early event called endosymbiosis in yeast in a new study published in the journalNature Communications.
The researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaignchemistry professorAngad Mehta believe that artificial, genetically tractable photosynthetic endosymbiosis is involved in the development of the yeast. And the chemical cyanobacteria perform chloroplast-like functions to assist the growth of the yeast.
The researchers said that these combined life forms, referred to as chimeras, were developed and even reproduced by budding in ideal photoynthetic conditions.
Mehta said that they are capable to live through at least 15 to 20 generations of development.
The evolution of life forms eukaryotes, a category that includes plants and animals, as well as yeast and few other single-celled organisms, is still a mystery, yet many scientists believe endosymbiosis opened the doors to these complex life forms, according to Mehta.
Basically, we have converted a nonphotosynthetic organism into a photodynamic, chimeric life form. I believe that our new ability to construct a controlled, synthetic endosymbiotic chimera that can be genetically and metabolically manipulated, analytically studied and visualized, and computationally modeled and predicted will dissipate the tensions surrounding this extraordinary evolutionary transformation.