Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Newly discovered protist suggests evolutionary answers, questions

Date:
November 13, 2013
Source:
Mississippi State University
Summary:
From Massachusetts to Mississippi, a unicellular protist is hinting at answers about the evolution of multicellularity while raising a whole new set of questions.

Mississippi State University's Matthew Brown, associate professor of biological sciences, led a team that recently classified this newly discovered protist, Pygsuia biforma.

From Massachusetts to Mississippi, a unicellular protist is hinting at answers about the evolution of multicellularity while raising a whole new set of questions.

Matthew Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences at Mississippi State University, recently led a research team that identified the protist as a new organism and classified its genomics. Obazoa is the name of the new group.

Jeffrey Silberman collected sediment specimens in Marstons Mills, a village in Barnstable, Mass., and the University of Arkansas associate professor isolated an organism he found. Since Brown had begun post-doctoral work in genomics at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Silberman offered his former UA doctoral student the opportunity to name and classify it on the evolutionary tree of life.

Brown headed the investigation that discovered the unicellular organism's proteins and genes are similar to those found in multicellular life-forms.

"We then looked for specific multicellular toolkit genes, and we found genes that scientists had believed to be animal-specific," Brown said. "Integrins and the whole suite of proteins that work with integrins were thought to be something innate to multicellularity and used only for cell-to-cell communication.

"This discovery shows that these genes have been co-opted for a different use. We don't know what it does in unicellular organisms, but we can now place the origin of genes that are associated with multicellularity in unicellular organisms."

Additionally, the anaerobic protist has mitochondria, energy factories that produce adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. Brown said ATP production typically requires oxygen, but the protist lives in oxygen depleted environments. As a result, Pygsuia biforma raises questions related to the presence and function of mitochondria in anaerobic unicellular organisms.

These discoveries and new research questions they raise are important because they offer new insights into the science of evolution, Brown explained.

"By tracking the evolutionary history of these particular organisms, we're able to look at ancestral states of certain gene suites, and that's the really important thing -- we need a better understanding of protist diversity and protist genome evolution to understand how organisms like animals evolved," Brown said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mississippi State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. W. Brown, S. C. Sharpe, J. D. Silberman, A. A. Heiss, B. F. Lang, A. G. B. Simpson, A. J. Roger. Phylogenomics demonstrates that breviate flagellates are related to opisthokonts and apusomonads. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 280 (1769): 20131755 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1755

Cite This Page:

Mississippi State University. "Newly discovered protist suggests evolutionary answers, questions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132133.htm>.
Mississippi State University. (2013, November 13). Newly discovered protist suggests evolutionary answers, questions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132133.htm
Mississippi State University. "Newly discovered protist suggests evolutionary answers, questions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113132133.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins