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The relative ages of eukaryotes and akaryotes.

Penny D, Collins LJ, Daly TK, Cox SJ.

J Mol Evol. 2014 Dec;79(5-6):228-39.

Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, [email protected]

 

Abstract

The Last Eukaryote Common Ancestor (LECA) appears to have the genetics required for meiosis, mitosis, nucleus and nuclear substructures, an exon/intron gene structure, spliceosomes, many centres of DNA replication, etc. (and including mitochondria). Most of these features are not generally explained by models for the origin of the Eukaryotic cell based on the fusion of an Archeon and a Bacterium. We find that the term ‘prokaryote’ is ambiguous and the non-phylogenetic term akaryote should be used in its place because we do not yet know the direction of evolution between eukaryotes and akaryotes. We use the term ‘protoeukaryote’ for the hypothetical stem group ancestral eukaryote that took up a bacterium as an endosymbiont that formed the mitochondrion. It is easier to make detailed models with a eukaryote to an akaryote transition, rather than vice versa. So we really are at a phylogenetic impasse in not being confident about the direction of change between  eukaryotes and akaryotes.

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