Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

People say we're running out of energy. That's only true if we stick with these old 19th century technologies. We are awash in energy from sunlight.

 

Ray Kurzweil

 

How a Single Act of Evolution Nearly Wiped Out All Life on Earth

RATE THIS! +15
Posted in Science on 5th Apr, 2014 12:53 AM by AlexMuller

The power of natural selection and random mutations have, over time, created the amazing diversity of life on Earth. But, once, a single act of evolution, the transfer of two genes from one type of bacteria to one type of archaea, nearly wiped out all life on this planet, suggests a team of researchers in a new study.

 
Roughly 252 million years ago, the Permian-Triassic extinction, known as the Great Dying, saw 90 percent of marine life and 70 percent of terrestrial life snuffed out in a relative blink of an eye.
 
The functional cause was a disruption of the planet's carbon cycle, which transfers carbon between air, sea and land and keeps a certain portion in long-term storage. Something, scientists don't know for sure, caused a burst of carbon to come out of storage. When it did, the temperature soared, the ocean acidified and life on Earth nearly collapsed.
 
Previously, scientists have tried to pin the shift in the carbon cycle and the ensuing extinction on everything from meteorites to volcanoes. Some scientists say the Great Dying happened all at once, while others suggest it happened in waves.
 
In the new study, led by geophysicist Daniel Rothman, the researchers noticed something important about the rate of the disruption. If the extinction had been caused by a meteorite or volcano, the changes likely would have come as a burst before slowly tapering off.
 
But that's not what they saw. Instead, the disruption of the carbon cycle appeared to be exponential, growing faster and faster with time. To them this suggests one thing: rampant microbial growth.
 
Though we tend to think of evolution as a particular individual organism having a genetic mutation that works out, in microbes, evolution can also happen when microbes of different types trade genes.
 
The scientists posit that, around the time of the extinction, a type of archaea known as Methanosarcina gained two genes from a bacteria. These genes gave them the ability to eat the organic wastes that litter the sea floor.
 
As they ate, the archaea would have pumped out methane gas, rushing carbon that had long been stored in the organic materials back into the water. Through a genetic analysis, the scientists calculated that Methanosarcina gained this ability some time from 200 to 280 million years ago.

Tags: lifeevolutionbacteriaarchaeagenetics

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+2
It would be fascinating to established what caused Great Dying about 250 million years ago. This hypothesis, that archaea acquired two critical genes from bacteria is very interesting one
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+1
Yes, I agree, we should not underestimate he power of microbial evolution! However, whether these speculations about Great Dying pan out-will be seen with time Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+2
There is some criticism about this is type evolutionist articles. Many just "spin a story to further the molecules to man evolution myth.
Good science demands that facts, and interpretation of the facts be clearly deliniated; also clear definitions are used. Evolutionary articles suffer badly in this regard." I think that this an important point. Reply


 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 19:05:15
    Google boosts Cloud Natural Language API with automatic.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-20 18:55:34
    Salesforce to launch $50 million artificial intelligence.....read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-09-20 18:50:18
    The Paris agreement climate aim is 'still achievable'..read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-09-19 18:06:17
    China orders Bitcoin exchanges in capital city to close..read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-09-19 18:00:15
    LinkSpace is a Chinese startup that will try to make.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Rebutting the claim that antidepressants do not work..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me