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 August 23, 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 August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. 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